Public Comment Rules


Watauga County Board of Commissioners

Public Comment Policy

Effective April 18, 2023


In accordance with North Carolina General Statutes 160A-81.1, the Watauga County Board of Commissioners establishes the following policy and rules regarding Public Comment.  

  • The Board does hereby establish a time period of up to sixty (60) minutes, for an open forum, at the beginning of each regular meeting to hear citizen comments.
  • Persons who wish to speak must register on the sign-up sheet located on the information desk outside the meeting room.  Sign-up sheets will be available one hour prior to the start of each meeting.
  • Speakers shall provide their name and address at the start of their comments.
  • Each speaker is allocated up to three (3) minutes to speak. No public comment period shall extend beyond one (1) hour.  The Chair reserves the right to reduce the time limitation for individual speakers in order to meet the one (1) hour time limit and as necessary for efficient conduct of business.
  • A speaker may not share or relinquish any remaining time they have not used to another speaker and shall only be allowed to speak once during the public comment period.
  • Speaker substitutions at the meeting are not allowed.
  • Comments are to be directed to the Board as a whole.  The forum is intended to provide the Board of Commissioners an opportunity to hear citizens.  It is not intended to subject the Board to answering impromptu questions.  Citizens will be expected to be civil in their language and presentation and not to engage in slander or name-calling.
  • Speakers shall refrain from personal attacks and/or threats directed towards County staff, elected Board members, or members of the public. Insults, profanity, use of vulgar language or gestures, or other inappropriate behavior are not allowed.
  • Speakers shall limit their comments to matters that are germane to, or within the jurisdiction of the Watauga County Board of Commissioners.
  • Speakers shall address the Board with any, and all public comments. Comments, questions, jeering, or other interruptions from the audience are not allowed. Speakers shall likewise not address or respond to members of the audience.
  • The Chair, or presiding officer, has the authority to enforce the Rules of Decorum.  Failure to obey these Rules may result in the forfeiture of the remaining speaking time and possible criminal charges. Individuals who engage in egregious or repeated violations may be asked to leave the meeting.

§  During the open forum, speakers should not discuss any of the following: 

a.     Matters which concern the candidacy of any person seeking public office, including of the person addressing the Board.

b.     Matters in current or anticipated litigation.

c.     Advertising or promoting the sale of products, services, or private enterprise.

d.     Promoting any contest or lottery.