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Coronavirus

Joliet creates call-in option for Tuesday council meeting

The Joliet City Council chambers will look very different Tuesday from this scene in January when the council was sitting closer together than allowed under social distancing standards that will be used for the upcoming meeting.
The Joliet City Council chambers will look very different Tuesday from this scene in January when the council was sitting closer together than allowed under social distancing standards that will be used for the upcoming meeting.

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The Joliet City Council will go remote when it meets Tuesday.

Council members will be given the option of participating remotely and the public will be required to do so.

Mayor Bob O’Dekirk issued an order Thursday providing for new meeting procedures under public gathering restrictions necessitated by the coronavirus outbreak.

The public will not be allowed into the meeting in Council Chambers, but arrangements will be made so people can participate live by phone.

“If you want to speak, we will have registration for your phone number,” interim City Manager Steve Jones said. “As we get to that point [of the meeting],” someone will call you, and we will literally have the phone speaker right at the council table.”

The process will “probably be a little clunkier than having someone come to the council table,” Jones said. “But it’s the best we can do.”

The procedures for public participation are posted on the city website, joliet.gov.

People are required to fill out a form on the website 24 hours in advance of the meeting, which would be by 6:30 p.m. Monday. The Tuesday meeting starts at 6:30 p.m.

– Bob Okon

Those unable to get access to the form on the website should call City Hall at 815-724-3800.

People can also submit comments by email to publiccomment@joliet.gov. Submitted comments are requested 24 hours in advance.

The mayor declared a state of emergency, the second such order since the breakout of COVID-19, to change rules for public meetings otherwise required by state law.

The declaration gives council members the option of participating remotely. They otherwise would be required by law to be physically present to participate and vote.

The same four-minute limit applied to public comments from people who attend council meetings will apply when they call in.

The city earlier this week announced that it will postpone the item on the agenda likely to generate the most public comment – a public hearing and vote on NorthPoint Development’s controversial plan for the Compass Business Park.

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