Wichita community members can make their voices heard at City Council meetings the first three Tuesdays of each month at City Hall, pictured above at 455 N. Main St.
Wichita community members can make their voices heard at City Council meetings the first three Tuesdays of each month at City Hall, pictured above at 455 N. Main St.

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Every day, Wichita’s city government makes decisions about a litany of topics: public safety, parks and green space, and zoning rules, to name a few. So how can you make sure your voice is heard on these matters? The Wichita Beacon created this guide to watching, attending and participating in city government meetings. 

Where to find Wichita government meeting times and locations

Let’s start with an easy one: City Council. These meetings are held the first three Tuesdays of the month (except holidays) at 9 a.m. at Wichita City Hall, 455 N. Main St. The fourth Tuesday is typically reserved for workshops in which the council reviews future agenda items or important projects.

Here’s a schedule of 2021 and 2022 City Council meeting dates. Agendas are typically posted the Friday before the Tuesday meeting on the City Council’s website.

The majority of other government meeting times and locations are provided on the city’s list of boards and commissions. On that webpage, you can click on a board or commission to find the time, date and location of the meeting. Each board or commission page also includes contact details for the office or specific staff member who helps facilitate the meeting.

Under the Kansas Open Meetings Act, the office or staff member assigned to each board is required to provide the time, date and location of upcoming meetings upon request.

Wichita city government has no centralized webpage to access agendas for these meetings, but some boards also choose to publish their agendas on their webpages. These include: 

How to watch Wichita City Council, committee meetings

Tune in to Wichita City Council meetings on the city’s website or its YouTube channel — you can watch videos live or watch recordings. Wichita TV channel City7, or cable channel 7, also airs the meetings at 9 a.m. on Tuesdays. Anyone can also attend a Wichita City Council meeting at City Hall. 

Public parking at City Hall can cost up to $5 a day. Those attending City Council meetings can have their parking validated at the information desk for free parking.

Once you have parked and entered City Hall, you are required to go through security. Objects larger than 20″ wide by 16″ high by 20″ long are prohibited unless advance arrangements are made with security.

The city does not stream all committee meetings on its YouTube channel, but it typically streams and archives the following board and committee meetings:  

Each of the six City Council members has their own District Advisory Board made up of residents in their district. Find which City Council district you live in here. District Advisory Board meetings are typically livestreamed on each City Council district’s Facebook page. Here’s District 1, District 2, District 3, District 4, District 5 and District 6

Many advisory boards and commissions can also be accessed via Zoom or other remote technology options. Zoom links, or other remote technology links, can be requested from the staff member or office whose contact information is listed on the city’s Boards and Commissions website. These recordings are not typically archived. 

For people with hearing impairments, City Hall has closed captioning available online and on City 7. Individuals with other needs for watching or participating in meetings may contact the city’s Americans with Disabilities Act Coordinator Gary Janzen.

How to participate at Wichita government meetings, online or in person

Each City Council meeting on the first three Tuesdays of the month offers six, five-minute slots for residents to sign up and give public comment on a topic of their choice. Residents must put in a request to appear at least one week before the meeting. No speaker is allowed to appear more often than once every fourth meeting. 

Sign up using the Public Agenda Request Form

Residents can also comment on most agenda items throughout the City Council meeting, except for the consent agenda, the Board of Bids and certain items regarding city planning.

There is no opportunity to provide written or remote comment for the record. However, community members can always contact their City Council members directly regarding issues on the agenda.

City boards and commissions outside of City Council also typically permit public comment, though time limits and procedures vary.

Who to contact with questions about specific Wichita government meetings

Each board and commission has contact information listed here

Diana Mefford, an administrative aide for the city, also distributes the times, dates, locations, agendas and Zoom links for the majority of the City Council, board and commission meetings via email on a weekly basis. To be added to this list, contact dmefford@wichita.gov.

Under the Kansas Open Meetings Act, if you request notice, you must be provided with the time, date and location of the meeting. Your request is good for the fiscal year of the public body or agency. 

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Hack covers local government for The Wichita Beacon. She is a Report for America corps member.