> Policies > Public Participation

SUBJECT: BCC P#13A
PUBLIC PARTICIPATION IN LARIMER COUNTY GOVERNMENT

REVISION DATE:

REVIEW: Annually - April

CANCELLATION:

CONTACT: County Manager

ATTACHMENTS: None

REFERENCE: None

REVISION LOCATOR: N/A

PURPOSE: Citizens want to be heard, want to participate, want some control over their government.

The Larimer County Board of County Commissioners places a high value on open, participatory government. Effective public participation ensures:

  • Timely, complete and simple information reaches the public.
  • Those who want to participate are given adequate opportunity.
  • A staff that values a robust and open debate on public policy.
  • Respect for our partnership with the media in our shared responsibility to inform the public.


POLICY:

  1. The Board of County Commissioners endorses the use of Systematic Development of Informed Consent (SDIC) as a philosophy and guideline for public participation in the decision making process.

  2. GUIDELINES: For all decision effecting the citizens of Larimer County, staff shall use the following as guidelines:

    1. EIGHT KEY STEPS TO A SUCCESSFUL PUBLIC PARTICIPATION PROGRAM:

      1. IDENTIFY ALL OF THE POTENTIALLY AFFECTED INTERESTS (PAI'S) IN YOUR PROJECT:
        Any group, business, individual, organization or agency that could in any conceivable way be affected should be identified. It is better to identify too many affected interests than to miss just one critical interest.

      2. IDENTIFY ALL THE ISSUES SURROUNDING YOUR PROJECT:
        No matter how insignificant, each issue must be identified. Many projects have been vetoed because the officials in charge overlooked an issue that was critical to the interests of one particular group.

      3. DEVELOP A PLAN OF ACTION TAILOR MADE TO INVOLVE EACH OF YOUR POTENTIALLY AFFECTED INTERESTS AND TO ADDRESS EACH ISSUE:
        There are many techniques to effectively reach each potentially affected interest and address each specific issue. Don't limit yourself to public hearings, citizen advisory committees, and blue ribbon panels. Research different techniques. Specialized training in public participation techniques and theories can be invaluable. Become an expert in public participation.

      4. GO TO THE PUBLIC WITH YOUR MESSAGE:
        Don't wait for the public to come to you. Aggressively involve those affected by your project. Beware of any group that actively works not to participate in the process, they may be positioning for eleventh hour opposition.

      5. WORK WITH THE MASS MEDIA. BECOME THE SOURCE OF INFORMATION ON YOUR PROJECT:
        Lack of information creates a vacuum that is quickly filled. If you don't fill the void with the accurate information, someone else will fill it, possibly to your detriment.

      6. GAUGE, MEASURE, AND UNDERSTAND PUBLIC OPINION ABOUT YOUR PROJECT:
        You must actively listen and follow the opinions about your project from many diverse groups in the community. Don't be lulled into security because your circle of acquaintances agrees with your opinion. Every community has a diversity of opinion.

      7. DEVELOP A COMPREHENSIVE CONTACT LIST OF COMMUNITY LEADERS AND POTENTIALLY AFFECTED PARTIES:
        Make direct mail contact, customized to the interests and issues affecting each group. Actively and publicly ask for input. No potentially affected group or individual should be able to claim they were not given the opportunity to participate in the process.

      8. LISTEN, REALLY LISTEN, TO THE PUBLIC'S IDEAS AND CONCERNS:
        Don't take so much pride in your solution that you cannot adjust your ideas to the needs of the community. Respect the intelligence, creativity, and ingenuity of the citizenry. A manager of public projects must serve as facilitator of the process, not controller.

    2. PUBLIC PARTICIPATION CHECKLIST:

      1. IS THE ISSUE OF ENOUGH INTEREST TO THE GENERAL PUBLIC OR TO CERTAIN GROUPS TO REQUIRE A PUBLIC PARTICIPATION PROGRAM?

      2. HAVE YOU ATTEMPTED TO IDENTIFIED ALL OF THE GROUPS AND INDIVIDUALS POTENTIALLY AFFECTED BY THIS ISSUE?

      3. HAVE YOU IDENTIFIED ALL THE ISSUES SURROUNDING THE PROJECT ?

      4. HAVE YOU DEVELOPED A PLAN OF ACTION TO INVOLVE EACH OF THE POTENTIALLY AFFECTED INTERESTS AND TO ADDRESS EACH ISSUE?.

      5. HAVE YOU REACHED THE PUBLIC WITH YOUR MESSAGE?.

      6. HAS THERE BEEN ADEQUATE MEDIA COVERAGE ?

      7. DO YOU HAVE A FEEL FOR PUBLIC OPINION ABOUT YOUR PROJECT?

      8. HAS THERE BEEN ADEQUATE NOTIFICATION OF OPPORTUNITIES FOR THE PUBLIC AND POTENTIALLY AFFECTED INTERESTS (PAI's) TO GIVE INPUT ?

      9. IS THERE A NEED FOR NEIGHBORHOOD OR COMMUNITY MEETINGS OUTSIDE OF THE COURTHOUSE TO DISCUSS THIS ISSUE WITH THE PAI'S ?

      10. HAVE ALL THE LEGAL NOTICES AND TIME LIMITS, IF ANY, BEEN COMPLIED WITH ?

      11. DOES THIS ISSUE WARRANT NIGHT, EVENING OR WEEKEND MEETINGS RATHER THAN MEETING DURING THE DAY ?

      12. HAS THE BOARD OF COUNTY COMMISSIONERS BEEN ADEQUATELY BREIFED ON THIS ISSUE ?

    3. GUIDELINES FOR PUBLIC MEETINGS:

      1. Notice Requirements:

        • MINIMUM SEVEN DAY PUBLIC NOTICE
        • APPEAR AND HIGHLIGHTED IN AGENDA
        • PUBLISH IN THE EXPANDED PRESS AGENDA
        • DISPLAY ADS PLACED A MINIMUM OF SEVEN DAYS BEFORE THE MEETING IN THE PAPER(S) SERVING AFFECTED COMMUNITIES.
        • LETTERS SENT TO HIGHLY AFFECTED PAI'S.
        • POSTING OF FLYERS IN PUBLIC AREAS THE COURTHOUSE AND , IF NECESSARY, AREAS VISIBLE TO THE PAI'S, OUTSIDE THE COURTHOUSE.

    4. TIME OF MEETING: The time of the meeting shall be set to allow the greatest number of PAI's to attend. This will vary with the issue. Issues requiring PAI's to participate as part of their jobs should be conducted during working hours and scheduled whenever possible, to minimize conflicts with other government public meetings. Issues that would require the majority of the PAI's to be absent from their places of work if done during the day, should be conducted in the evenings.

    5. PLACE OF MEETING: Meetings should be held in the most convenient place possible for the PAI's. Items of general County interest shall be held at the Courthouse, or in a series of geographically dispersed locations. Meetings will be held in specific communities for .issues affecting only a specific area of the County outside of the Fort Collins area, wherever possible.

    6. DAY OF THE WEEK: Meetings during the day may be held Monday through Friday. Evening meetings will be held Tuesday through Thursday. Weekend meetings will be held only when it is the only and best choice for PAI participation.

    7. DECORUM: Meetings will be held in an atmosphere that encourages participation of all the affected parties, regardless of opinion. Intimidation or any acts that discourage full participation of all interested citizens cannot and will not be tolerated.

    8. In meetings where there are large numbers of citizens desiring to speak, speakers may be limited to 3 minutes each and limited to one opportunity to speak in the meeting.



Adopted this 10th day of April 1996


_________________________________

John Clarke , Chair
Larimer County Board of County Commissioners

Distribution:
Larimer County Bulletin Board
Signed Original/BCC
Signed Copy/Records Management

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