In many cases, city meetings are going virtual

The City of Fort Worth is responding to community needs by replacing in-person public board and commission meetings with a virtual format.

State and local emergency declarations related to the COVID-19 pandemic and guidelines on social distancing eliminated the ability of boards and commissions to meet in traditional public venues. Gov. Greg Abbott granted a request by the attorney general to temporarily suspend open meeting laws to allow telephonic or video conference meetings in response to coronavirus.

Fort Worth’s Development Services Department quickly assembled a team to create a virtual process that allows transparency to city business while encouraging a high level of resident participation and engagement.

Since mid-April, the city has successfully hosted public meetings ranging from the City Plan Commission to the Public Art Commission. These public meetings are held using the WebEx Events platform, which allows up to 10,000 people to participate either by phone, computer or smart device without leaving the safety of their home.

In addition, meetings are broadcast on the city’s cable channel and livestreamed on the city’s website. Recordings of the meetings are provided on the city’s website for the public to view at their convenience.

Public participation has been robust at these virtual meetings.

In accordance with the latest extension of Abbott’s disaster declaration, city staff will continue to use a virtual format as long as necessary.

To learn how to participate in virtual public hearings, contact the Development Services Department at 817-392-8000 or review a FAQ page.

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