A Citizen’s Guide to Council Meetings
This guide will help you understand how public business is transacted in the City of Victorville. The Council sincerely appreciates your interest and encourages your participation and interest in City government.
Your City Council
The Victorville City Council has five Council members who are elected at large by the citizens to represent the interests of the City as a whole. Every two years the City Council selects one of its members to serve as Mayor and one to serve as Mayor Pro Tem. The Mayor is the presiding officer of the Council, while the Mayor Pro Tem serves in this capacity in the Mayor’s absence.
The City Council holds regular public meetings to make and amend laws and to develop policies to govern the City of Victorville. The public is invited to attend these meetings, which are held the first and third Tuesday of each month at 6:00 p.m., in the City Hall Council Chambers. Workshops and special hearings are conducted at other times and scheduled as needed.
During a City Council meeting, the Council reviews agenda items that have been prepared by City staff for consideration. Many City staff members attend Council meetings to respond to questions on agenda items relating to their specific area of expertise.
All meetings except Closed Sessions are open to the public, as directed by State open meeting laws (the Brown Act).
The City Council follows a regular order of business during council meetings. This order of business is outlined in the Council agenda, which may be obtained at the City Manager’s office the Thursday before the scheduled meeting, or in the Council Chambers lobby prior to the beginning of each meeting. Council members review their agenda packet and related staff reports prior to Council meetings, so they are well versed in each item before the meeting begins.
Actions of the Council
Official actions of the City Council may take the form of ordinances, resolutions, motions or referrals. Three members of the Council (a quorum) are needed to conduct City business.
An ORDINANCE is a municipal law that can be changed or repealed by adopting another ordinance, as directed by State law. A proposed ordinance must be read at two City Council meetings before being formally adopted. The proposed ordinance is introduced at the first meeting, then approved or denied at the second meeting. Except in the case of an “urgency ordinance”, it becomes effective 30 days after adoption.
A RESOLUTION expresses a policy of the City Council. It may be adopted after one reading, and becomes effective immediately. It can only be changed by a subsequent resolution.
A MOTION is used to indicate the position or detail of a procedural action.
The Order of Business
The general format of a typical Council agenda is:
Call to Order
Special Presentations (proclamation, etc.)
Public Comment – Those people wishing to address the Council on items not listed in the agenda may submit a comment card (white card found in the Council Chambers lobby) to the City Clerk and may speak at that time. No Council action may be taken at this time, due to legal requirements that require items to be listed on the agenda. Before speaking to the Council, please state your name and address for the record. You will have three minutes to make your point.
Public Hearings – These are designed to provide citizens with an opportunity to speak on an issue before it is discussed or acted upon by the City Council. Public hearings are required on a variety of subjects, including new City ordinances, zone changes, general plan amendments, etc.
Consent Calendar – Routine or recurring business items. All items on the consent calendar may be approved, accepted or adopted by the Council in one motion. Individual items may be removed at the request of a Councilmember for discussion or individual action.
Regular Business – Items generally not scheduled for public hearings that must be approved by the City Council.
Council Reports – Each Councilmember is granted an opportunity to brief the rest of the Council on meetings they have attended or other items of interest to the City.
Closed Session – Not necessarily held every meeting. By State law, items covered in Executive Session are limited to: personnel issues, pending litigation and land acquisition. Because it is closed to the public, the Council can make no decisions in Closed Session, it must reconvene the regular meeting and follow standard procedures for any actions taken.