How do I know what is on the Council agenda?

Each week's Council agenda is available on the Current Agendas page. Hard copies are also available at the City Clerk's Office located at the 5th Floor of City Hall.

Both the current and the next weeks (advanced) agenda are always available with “full packets”. This means that each agenda item's supporting paperwork is contained within the file, so the full text of legislation can be viewed. Past agenda packets from the last several years are also available.

What is the difference between a resolution and an ordinance?

A resolution is typically a non-binding expression of the City Council's values or position on an issue. An ordinance is legislation which necessitates changes in our current laws, policies or procedures as a city, which is codified in the Spokane Municipal Code.

What is the difference between a “first reading” ordinance and a “second” or “final reading” ordinance?

Ordinances (excluding Emergency Ordinances or Special Budget Ordinances) must be read once during a council meeting before the meeting at which the ordinances will be voted on. A "first reading" ordinance is only a reading, no votes are taken. The public can testify for 3min total on any and all first reading ordinances on the agenda. A "second" or "final reading" ordinance is set for action and open for testimony at the meeting. Resolutions do not have first and second readings, so if they are on the current agenda, they are up for a vote that night.

How does Council legislation come about before we vote on it?

Council legislation can come about in many ways. The City Administration can bring legislation to the Council for a vote. Many times this legislation goes through one of the Council standing committees for discussion and briefing beforehand.

Also, any Councilmember can bring forth their own or citizen initiated legislation. Again, often times this will go through committees or a Council Study Session before getting on the agenda.

Can I speak at a Council meeting even if my issue is not on the agenda?

Yes. At the 6:00 p.m. Council legislative session, prior to the consideration of consent or legislative items, the Council holds an open forum. The open forum shall has 15 (fifteen) spaces of two minutes each available and members of the public who have not spoken during open forum during that calendar month will be prioritized for spaces ahead of those who have spoken during that calendar month. Members of the public can sign up for open forum in the hour preceding the legislative session, or at the conclusion of the briefing session, whichever is later, via the virtual testimony form linked in the meeting packet or in person outside Council Chambers. During this period, any citizen can speak before the Council on issues they wish to make public as long as the topic is not on the Council's advance or current agenda, in which case the citizen will have to wait until the appropriate council meeting to testify.

How do I let my Council representatives know my opinion on an issue if I cannot speak at the meeting when that issue will be voted on?

You can find each council member's email address on their respective pages on the Council website as well as the City Council phone number: 509.625.6255. You may call, email or write a letter to individual Councilmember's or the Council as a whole. Our mailing address is City Council, 7th Floor Municipal Bldg., 808 W. Spokane Falls Blvd., Spokane, WA 99201.

Can I watch Council meetings after the fact?

Yes, all Council meetings are broadcast on City Cable channel 5 and later available on the Cable 5 website along with other public meetings.

How do I best contact a Council Member?

Call the Council office at 509.625.6255 or email the council member you wish to speak with.

How do I best schedule a meeting with a Council Member?

Most council members have a legislative aide or assistant, who can help you schedule a meeting with them. Call the Council office to speak with any of the legislative aides.

When does the Council hold hearings and vote on the City budget?

The Council has several presentations on the budget as early as the spring, then the Mayor drafts a budget. Council hearings on the City budget are usually in late November and early December during Council meetings. The Council usually then makes changes and votes on the budget in early December.

What are Study Sessions and can I attend them?

Council Study Sessions are each Thursday at 11:00 a.m. in the Council Chambers. Either the Administration or the Council can request that specific items be put on the Study Session calendar for a more in depth discussion. Items range from specific projects, to upcoming legislation, to entire City departments giving updates. These are open public meetings and anyone is welcome to attend. However, public testimony is not taken during Study Sessions.

What is the Council's Monday 3:30 p.m. Briefing Session?

The Council has a briefing session each Monday at 3:30 p.m. to be briefed on the upcoming Council meeting agendas. These sessions are also televised on City Cable 5 and contained in the on-line agenda packets.

Where can I see the City Charter and Municipal Code?

You can look through the City Charter and Municipal Code online.

Contact Information

City Council Office
City Hall, 7th floor
808 W. Spokane Falls Blvd.
Spokane, WA 99201