Airdrie residents will now have to register to ask questions in advance during the public question period.
In a push to more effectively answer public inquiries, administration suggested questions be submitted prior to appearing before council.
They felt this strategy would help City staff and council better prepare answers, or have questions answered before the meeting.
Once questions are registered, administration will review and either list the question as an item to be added to the next council meeting or respond directly to the question.
This means a question won’t be addressed in a council meeting until three weeks after it is registered, said Coun. Tina Petrow.
She added she didn’t like the length of the process, but administration noted that most questions would be dealt with before ever coming to council.
“We used to have some pretty good questions coming forward,” said Mayor Peter Brown. “Now we’re getting into things that really are not pertinent to our level of government; so we can actually eliminate those for the most part and let them know right away that this isn’t something we’re dealing with.”
Council noted that most people can send a question to council directly and have an answer immediately.
Administration stated that with this process in place, questions would also have to be registered with items that are already on the agenda.
While the public can ask questions about items on the agenda, Brown added that the public should not influence the decision-making process by council.
Brown said he was initially a proponent of the public question period, but he pointed out that no other neighbouring municipalities have a public question period.