City Council FAQs

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Does the Manager participate in policy determination?
The Manager makes policy recommendations to the Council, but the Council may or may not adopt them and may modify the recommendations.  The Manager is bound by whatever action the Council takes.
 
How are recommendations determined?
Most items on the agenda are provided to the Council with a recommendation from either the City Manager or the Administration.  Part of a City Manager’s duty is to provide input to the City Council.  In all instances, recommendations are based upon professional opinion and related criteria of what is in the best interest of the community.  Recommendations are never based on the personal opinions of the City Manager or the Administration.  The Administration will also make a recommendation on behalf of a City Board, Committee or Commission.  In most instances, before a recommendation is developed for the Council by a City Board, Committee or Commission, the group has held a hearing on the item to hear input from the public. 
 
How are the procedures of the City Council established?
There are state laws that govern the procedures and actions of the City Council.  Additionally, the Council has adopted local ordinances that outline the procedures for how the Council will conduct business.  The Council has also adopted Robert’s Rules of Order©, which dictates the parliamentary procedures of their meetings.
 
How do I access City Council materials, including agendas, Council policies and other documents?
Individuals may download agenda materials by clicking here.  A copy of the current agenda is also posted in the Lobby of City Hall (18 N. Jackson Street), at Hedberg Public Library (316 S. Main Street) and at the Rock County Clerk's Office (51 S. Main Street). Council policies and other documents may be accessed by clicking here. Once on that page, click the link titled “City Council” followed by "Documents".
 
How would I go about volunteering for a citizen committee?
Click here for information on how to volunteer for a City committee.
 
How do I contact the City Council Members?
The names, addresses, telephone numbers and email addresses of each of the Council Members are listed on the Councilmember Directory webpage.  However, if you would like to send a letter to one or all of the Council Members, you may also send it to the attention of the City Council; City Hall; Post Office Box 5005; Janesville, WI 53547-5005. 
 
What do I do if I would like to speak at a City Council meeting?
Everyone is welcome to speak at City Council meetings.  Council meetings take place the second and fourth Monday of each month on the fourth floor of City Hall (18 North Jackson Street) at 6 p.m. If the second or fourth Monday of the month falls on a holiday on which City Hall is closed, the Council meeting will be held on the following Tuesday at 6 p.m.  Public comments on items on the agenda not requiring a public hearing and on matters which can be affected by Council action falls immediately after the roll call. Persons may speak at this time for up to four minutes. Except for public hearings, all individuals wishing to speak during a Council meeting must sign in with their name and address before the beginning of the meeting.  Persons who would like to provide handouts to the Council should deliver them to the Clerk-Treasurer prior to the start of the meeting. 
 

What is the consent agenda?
The consent agenda is an option that allows the Council to quickly adopt routine items of business, such as the minutes of a previous meeting, without having to vote on each item individually.  An item may be taken off the consent agenda by any one Council Member if he or she would like to discuss it further or if the Council Member would like to see an individual vote on the item.

What is the council-manager form, which is used in so many local governments?
The council-manager form is the system of local government that combines the strong political leadership of elected officials in the form of a council or other governing body with the strong managerial experience of an appointed local government manager.  The form establishes a representative system where the Council hires a professionally trained manager to oversee the delivery of public services. For more information on the council-manager form of government, including the role of the Council and the Manager, please click here.

What is the difference between a resolution and an ordinance?
A resolution is an administrative act taken by the Council to agree to typical city business and transactions.  Resolutions are also used to create a formal statement of policy.  Examples of resolutions include the adoption of the budget or special proclamations for community groups.  An ordinance is an action taken by the Council that creates a law that governs the behavior of everyone.  Ordinances are created to protect the health, welfare and safety of our community.

When are Council meetings televised?
You can watch Council meetings live on the second and fourth Monday of each month on the JATV Cable Channel.  Council meetings will also be rebroadcast on JATV.  Please check the daily program listing in The Janesville Gazette, visit the JATV website, or call 758-5822 to find out when the meetings will be rebroadcast. 

Which Council Member represents my district?
The City of Janesville operates under the council-manager form of government, and Council Members serve at-large.  This means Council Members do not represent certain districts.  The Janesville City Council has seven members, who are elected on a nonpartisan basis and represent the city as a whole.

Why are public hearings held?
Certain matters by law require a public hearing be held in order to obtain public input before that resolution or ordinance is adopted.  Public hearings serve as an invitation for the public to offer their thoughts and experiences to the Council regarding the agenda item.

Why is Roll Call taken?
At the beginning of each meeting, Roll Call is taken to determine whether there is a majority of Council Members present to do business; this is also known as a quorum.  There must be at least four of the seven Council Members present to hold a meeting.   

Why is the title of the proposed ordinance or resolution read before a public hearing?
The law requires that the title of a proposed ordinance or resolution be read prior to the discussion or public hearing on the item. The purpose of the reading is to inform the public of the business of the Council. One reading is typically required for resolutions. Ordinances require two readings. The ordinance title must first be read and the date announced for when the item will be discussed. At a future meeting, the ordinance title is read again with a public hearing to follow.

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