Before the meeting is called, a clergy member of Austin’s diverse faith community offers an invocation.
The council adopts a group of routine items with one motion rather than voting on each item separately. The council will not adopt by consent any item:
- Posted as a public hearing
- Posted on the agenda for consideration at a specific time
- On which two or more people have registered to testify
- That a council member requests be removed from the consent agenda
During a meeting, council may approve an ordinance, resolution or a motion by affirmative vote of six or more members. These items may be approved as part of the Consent Agenda or at other times throughout the meeting.
- An ordinance is a law that amends, repeals or supplements the Municipal Code; provides zoning specifications; or amends the budget. The City Code requires that an ordinance be read at three separate meetings. However, the City Code also permits council to pass an ordinance on more than one reading during a single meeting by an affirmative vote of seven or more council members. Unless the vote on an ordinance is specifically limited to first or second reading, or a combination of both, the affirmative vote of seven or more council members is approval on all three readings.
- A resolution is a formal expression of opinion or intention of the City Council. Resolutions are memorialized by a separate written document signed by the City Clerk.
- A motion is a formal proposal that the group take a certain action. The Council’s vote on the motion is recorded in the minutes.
The council goes into closed session to consult with the City Attorney, deliberate real property or to discuss personnel matters. The topics to be discussed during the Executive Session are read into the record by the mayor.
City staff brief the council on various items at the request of council or the City Manager. This allows discussion between council and staff on complex projects.
Time Certain Items
"Time certain" means these items will not be discussed prior to the posted time, but they can be taken up any time after the posted time. Items typically posted as time certain are:
- Meetings of corporations on which council members serve as the Board of Directors, such as Austin Housing Finance Corporation
- Bond sales
- General citizen communications
- Live music and proclamations
- Zoning items
- Public hearings
- Items requested by two council members to be heard at a certain time
These are conducted so council can hear both sides of an issue. If the public hearing is mandated under state or local laws, it follows this format:
- Presentation by City staff
- Presentation by the applicant
- Presentation by parties supporting the proposal
- Presentation by parties opposing the proposal
- Rebuttal by the applicant