FREDERICK, Md (WDVM) — In an effort to reel in more public participation, the Frederick County Council is rolling out new ways to get connected.
In the weeks since the COVID-19 outbreak, the county council was spurred to come up with ways for residents to stay engaged in the legislative process and have their voices heard.
“In the last few weeks we have tried to, through a patchwork, have the public engaged with us,” explained Council President M.C. Keegan-Ayer.
The council encouraged residents to send questions and comments through email and phone line that would take voicemail messages. Since then, the council is going even further.
On Sunday, the council announced the launch of a new web portal with added features to allow even more engagement.
Soon through the new portal, residents will be able to call in and speak with council members in real-time.
“They can actually speak to us live, through their phone, and give us comments,” Keegan-Ayer explained, “They call in and give their name and number and get into a queue..and they can give their public comment.”
The new portal will also allow residents to listen in on meetings by phone if they don’t have access to television or internet.
“It’s all part of trying to get the public more actively engaged, particularly now, but just overall. Everybody is busy and they can’t always take time to drive to Winchester Hall, give us their comments on what we’re considering that evening,” said Keegan-Ayer.
The new county council portal also uses built-in translation so that comments can be written or read in more than 100 languages. These features will be added in the coming weeks.
According to a press release, the public is reminded that all comments, both written and oral, will be made part of the public record.
To access the portal, visit www.FrederickCountyMD.gov/CouncilMeetings
To leave a message for the County Council, call 855-925-2801 and provide the appropriate meeting code, which appears on the portal for each meeting.