Frequently Asked Questions
Additional questions, please use the Council Feedback Form
Is there a Councilmember assigned to my neighborhoodor district?
Columbus’ seven council members serve the city at large. Columbus is not divided into districts. Each Council member chairs one or more standing committees. Each standing committee works with one or more city departments. Questions can be directed to the Council member who chairs the committee dealing with your specific concern or area of interest.
How much are Council members paid?
Effective with a new or appointed term each member receives $42,414 yearly. The President receives $51,023 yearly. In addition to their salary, each member has the option to receive comprehensive medical, prescription drug, vision, dental, and term life insurance. Councilmembers can also be reimbursed for travel expenses when it relates to City business.
How can I provide input to City Council?
There are a variety of ways to access Council. All Council meetings are open to the public. These Monday evening meetings begin at 5:00 p.m. Those wishing to speak must fill out a speaker slip. Speaker slips that address an item on the agenda will be taken when the legislation is considered. Non-agenda speaker slips are taken at the end of the meeting.
All council members have regular office hours. If you want an appointment contact their respective offices.
Can I fill out a speaker's slip for someone else?
No. The person that will be speaking must complete the speaker slip.
Can I fill out a speaker slip online?
No.The rules are available online; however, you must fill out speaker slips in person by coming to City Hall between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. on the day of the meeting you wish to speak.
What is the difference between a resolution and an ordinance?
A resolution expresses the sense of City Council on a particular topic. An ordinance creates a law and/or authorizes a specific action to be taken. Resolutions are adopted, while ordinances are passed. Ordinances are read at two meetings at least a week apart before Council members vote on them, unless they are considered emergency legislation, or the department requests that a second reading be waived.
What is the difference between emergency and 30-day legislation?
Emergency legislation takes effect on the date it is signed by the Mayor, or 10 days after passage or adoption if not signed by the Mayor. 30-day legislation takes effect 30 days from the date of passage regardless of when the Mayor signs the legislation. Emergency legislation requires the affirmative vote of six members; 30-day legislation requires four affirmative votes. To waive a second reading five affirmative votes are required.
How does legislation get to Council?
City departments requesting authorization almost always write the specific ordinance or resolution. Legislation follows a prescribed format and contains background information, a fiscal impact, specific accounting information, and, when appropriate, reference to the applicable City Codes.
What is the deadline for submission of legislation to the City Clerk’s Office?
Ordinances and resolutions to be introduced at a regular meeting of City Council must be delivered to the City Clerk's Office (City Hall Room 218) no later than 12:00 noon on Friday for Council action on the second Monday hence. For example, the legislative deadline for the City Council meeting of Monday, January 23, 2011 would have been Friday, January 19, 2011. There is no extended deadline for a legal holiday.
What is the City Council agenda?
The purpose of the City Council agendais to provide an outline for the orderly and efficient conduct of their weekly business meetings. The agenda sets forth the specific items of business (generally ordinances and resolutions) and the order in which Council will consider them. This helps all interested parties monitor and understand the actions City Council takes.
When is the weekly City Council agenda available?
The goal is to have the tentative agenda on our official web site no later than 3:00 p.m. each Thursday prior to a Monday meeting (under Meeting Toolkit, "The Legislative Center via InSite" on the side of the screen). Tentative agendas are marked accordingly, when the final agenda is ready (generally Friday morning) an update to the agenda is made and the word "tentative" is replaced with "final." These on-line agendas are provided for informational purposes only. The City Clerk presents the official and final agenda to City Council at the beginning of the City Council meeting.
How can I find out what Council has voted on or is scheduled to vote on at the next Meeting of the Council?
You can review legislation online through The Legislative Center via InSite under Meeting Toolkit, in person at the Council office in City Hall (an appointment is recommended) or by viewing the City Bulletin online. The City Bulletin is a free online weekly publication that provides the results of the Council meetings. It includes all legislation that has been passed, approved, or defeated in the previous council meeting. The City Bulletin includes notices of meetings. The City Bulletin also advertises requests for bids, which are helpful to businesses wishing to do business with the city. Council meetings are also broadcast live to Columbus cable subscribers on GTC-3, and rebroadcast several times throughout the following week. Check the GTC-3 Program Schedule for specific broadcast times. Meetings can also be watched live in streaming video format.
What is a consent action?
A consent action is a procedure, which when incorporated as part of the regular City Council agenda, is designed to facilitate operational, non-controversial, and routine matters on the agenda swiftly and efficiently. Use of a consent action allows Council members to conduct business more efficiently and help produce Council decisions which are open, responsive and accountable to the people of the City.
How does a consent action work?
Items identified for inclusion in the consent action section are grouped and approved with one motion and one roll call vote.
Who decides what is placed on the agenda as a consent action?
Council members and staff review all legislation and recommend items for consent action. Certain legislation will not be considered in a consent action. Zoning ordinances, budget adoption and amendment legislation, and legal settlements, for example, should be read into the record and debated as needed. To clearly identify the legislation that is proposed for consent action a header reading “Consent Actions” appears after First Readings, but before “Second Readings and Emergency Legislation”. The Council President presents items identified as consent actions with the recommendation for approval by a single motion and vote. The balance of the agenda format remains the same.
What if someone at a meeting has concerns about legislation identified as a consent action?
Any legislation identified as a consent action can be removed from this section and will be individually considered.
How can I get a copy of an ordinance?
You may access all legislation scheduled for an upcoming Council Agenda as well as any legislation that has already been voted on through the "Legislative Center via InSite" on the Council's website. You may also call Council’s Welcome Center at 645-7380 and provide the number of the ordinance or resolution or simply describe the legislation you are looking for, and they will assist you in locating it. Legislation copies can be sent to you by 1) email, 2 ) ground mail or 3) fax. If your request is large or particularly time consuming, a processing charge may apply.
What happens after legislation is acted upon by City Council?
On Tuesday morning the original legislation is forwarded to the Mayor's office for signature. The signed legislation is returned to the Clerk's office, then dated and forwarded to the City Clerk, who authenticates the legislation by signing each one. After all signatures are secured, legislation is sorted by numerical order, and placed into a file folder with the date and time of the meeting in which they were adopted or passed by City Council.
How can I find out about issuance or transfers of liquor permits?
The State of Ohio Department of Liquor Control determines whether a permit to sell liquor or beer shall be issued or transferred to an establishment, not the City of Columbus. The City Clerk's office receives notices pertaining to these actions which are read aloud into the official record during the Council meeting. Council is provided with an opportunity to comment. The City Bulletin publishes communications on the Saturday following their reading at the Council meeting.
How can I find out which rezoning and Council Variance requests will be heard by Council?
You may access all legislation scheduled for an upcoming Council Agenda as well as any legislation that has already been voted on through the "Legislative Center via InSite" on the Council's website. As a general rule, rezoning and council variance ordinances have a 1st reading allowing them to appear on City Council’s agenda no less than 10 days prior to the actual hearing. The zoning agenda is also published under the Public Notice section of the City Bulletin. Notices are sent to property owners within 125’ of the subject site and designated representatives of the appropriate Area Commission. These notices are sent by ground mail 10 days prior to the hearing date.