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 Clayton | Cobb | DeKalb | Fulton | Gwinnett

In early December, Atlanta’s city council put new limits on some speakers.

Now, current elected officials are limited to 10 minutes, while former elected officials can only speak for six minutes. Before the change, there were no limits for the speaking time of elected officials. Other residents remain limited to two minutes.

The change comes after former elected officials often came before the board with long statements. Atlanta does not limit the length of its public comment period, and city council spokesman Dexter Chambers said comment periods can often last for hours. For more information, please click on the links below to visit the Atlanta City Council’s website.

  • Atlanta City Council -- Public comment is allowed at the start of the meeting. There is no total time limit; two minutes allotted to each speaker, with exceptions (see above for details). Speakers cannot address zoning matters, which have separate public hearings. Speaker sign-ups end when the meeting begins at 1 p.m. The council can vote to extend the public comment.

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