Join us for an opportunity to experiment with some possible changes to Boulder City Council meeting formats.

The City of Boulder and National Civic League (NCL) will co-host an engagement session to test some possible changes to public meetings formats. The changes are designed to offer more meaningful and satisfying ways for community members to share their thoughts and ideas with elected public officials and improve the overall public participation experience for all involved.

A couple of techniques will be tested at an engagement session on Wednesday, Feb. 21 from 5:30 – 7:30 p.m. at 2520 55th St. Participants will receive information about the city’s grant-funded partnership with the NCL and Center for Democracy Innovation and be invited to try some techniques in the real-world context of recent feedback received as part of the 2023 Community Survey. In addition to being asked to share their thoughts on the techniques, community members will have the opportunity to provide more input on several topics that emerged through the survey results, specifically, safety, affordability, transportation and engagement.

While reservations are not required, it is helpful if community members who are planning to attend RSVP by email to Ryan Hanschen. Light refreshments will be provided. Those who cannot attend in person but wish to provide feedback can do so online on Be Heard Boulder.

Feedback from this session and online will assist councilmembers in deciding if NCL’s recommendations make sense for Boulder. Council will discuss the recommendations for NCL and the Better Public Meeting Project at a later date.

“The Center for Democracy Innovation at the National Civic League is excited to share findings from its local civic infrastructure scan in Boulder, along with some recommendations to inclusively engage the public in official public meetings,” NCL’s Senior Director of Equity and Engagement Benita Duran said. “Our team is encouraged by the community’s support and enthusiasm in pursuing this important work.”

Some key findings from this project that are currently being explored include:

  • Replacing some open public comment time with an option that allows for two-way dialogue;
  • Rotating the location of meetings around different locations in Boulder; and,
  • Upgrade digital feedback methods before, during and after meetings.

The NCL’s full recommendations are available online on Be Heard Boulder.

The Better Public Meetings project is part of a broader effort by the Center for Democracy Innovation at the National Civic League (NCL), which has been collaborating with Boulder leaders to assess the history of participation in public meetings in Boulder and better understand how to make meetings more engaging and satisfying for all involved. Boulder was chosen as one of three pilot communities to support advancing collaborative best practices in council meetings.

To learn more about The Democracy Innovations for Better Public Meetings project, visit the city’s website.