DeKalb Police Chief James Conroy stands before commissioners during DeKalb County Commission meeting on Tuesday, Dec. 5, 2017. The DeKalb Board of Commissioners voted 7-0 Tuesday to delay a decision until next week on whether to cut off alcohol service at 2 a.m. in unincorporated areas. Commissioners asked county police to compile crime statistics surrounding late-night bars before reducing their hours. HYOSUB SHIN / HSHIN@AJC.COM
Photo: Hyosub Shin/The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Photo: Hyosub Shin/The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Public comment rules: DeKalb Co. and its cities

Exactly how much time you’ll have to speak at city or county meetings varies widely.

We’ve all been there: Your city council or county commission is taking up a hot issue and you’re ready to speak your mind to your elected officials. The meeting is packed; plenty of folks are geared up to have their say. But do you know the rules governing public comment for your particular city? Your county? You should. Let us help you prepare for that next important meeting so you’ll make the most of your time.

>> LEARN MORE: See the public commenting rules for City of Atlanta | Clayton | Cobb | Fulton | Gwinnett

Here are the particulars regarding public comment for DeKalb County and the various cities within it. For more information, please click on the links below to visit that government’s website.

  • DeKalb County Commission -- Public comment is allowed at the start of the meeting. 30 minutes total allowed with three minutes allotted to each speaker (see website for details). No limits on what speakers may address. Speakers must must submit speaker cards; DeKalb County residents will have first priority in speaking.
  • Avondale Estates -- Public comment is allowed at the beginning of the meeting and after each agenda item. Time limits are 15 minutes for broad comments and 10 minutes for comments per agenda item; three minutes allotted to each speaker (see website for details). No limits on what speakers may address. Speakers not required to sign up in advance.
  • Brookhaven -- Public comment is allowed both before and after regular business. 60 minutes total allowed (30 before the meeting and 30 after the meeting; three minutes allotted to each speaker (see website for details). No limits on what speakers may address. Speakers asked to sign up on a comment card, and are called in order. After comment cards are exhausted, they are invited to speak and asked to fill out a card afterward.
  • Chamblee -- Public comment is allowed at the end of the meeting. There is no total time limit; three minutes allotted to each speaker (see website for details). No limits on what speakers may address. Speakers not required to sign up in advance.
  • Clarkston -- Public comment is allowed at the start of the meeting. 15 minutes total allowed with three minutes allotted to each speaker (see website for details). No limits on what speakers may address. Speakers not required to sign up in advance.
  • Decatur -- Public comment is allowed before and after regular business. There is no total time limit, unless specified by mayor at the meeting; no time limits for each speaker (see website for details). Public comment is divided between comment on agenda action items at the beginning and requests, reports and petitions at the end. Speakers not required to sign up in advance.
  • Doraville -- Public comment is allowed at the start of the meeting. There is no total time limit; three minutes allotted to each speaker (see website for details). No limits on what speakers may address. Speakers not required to sign up in advance.
  • Dunwoody -- Public comment is allowed before and after regular business. 30 minutes total time limit for first period with no limit for the second; three minutes allotted to each speaker (see website for details). No limits on what speakers may address. Speakers asked to fill out a card so they can be called on.
  • Lithonia -- Public comment is allowed at the start of the meeting and if residents have comment throughout the meeting. 20 minutes total allowed with two minutes allotted to each speaker (see website for details). No limits on what speakers may address. Speakers asked to sign up in advance.
  • Pine Lake -- Public comment is allowed at the beginning and the end of the meeting. There is no total time limit; three minutes allotted to each speaker (see website for details). No limits on what speakers may address. Speakers not required to sign up in advance.
  • Stonecrest -- Public comment is allowed toward the beginning of the meeting, after public hearings. 30 minutes total allowed with three minutes allotted to each speaker (see website for details). No limits on what speakers may address. Speakers asked to sign up in advance, and the clerk can stop their comments if they have not signed up.
  • Stone Mountain -- Public comment is allowed at the start of the meeting. There is no total time limit; three minutes allotted to each speaker (see website for details). Speakers cannot address agenda items. Speakers must sign up in advance, but will be allowed to speak if they didn't understand it was required.
  • Tucker -- Public comment is allowed at the start of the meeting. 20 minutes total allowed with two minutes allotted to each speaker (see website for details). No limits on what speakers may address. Speakers who sign up online or in person can speak first. After they are done, the city calls for anyone else who wants to speak.

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