Douglas County and Lone Tree residents who can’t attend certain public government meetings in person will now be able to listen to them at any time after both entities expanded their public-access policies following questions about their practices from Colorado Community Media.
Douglas County commissioners began recording work sessions, and the City of Lone Tree now records its regular meetings.
In these meetings, city councils and county commissioners make decisions about the use of tax dollars, policies and resolutions.
During pandemic shutdowns, several government entities in the county expanded access to their public meetings, making them available to join and comment virtually. Most continued their virtual offerings even after COVID restrictions were lifted, and some said the changes resulted in more engagement from the public.
Jeff Roberts, executive director of the Colorado Freedom of Information Coalition, said the more access government provides to the public the better.
“The more information people have about what their government is doing, it’s better for our democracy,” he said. “People can participate, they can vote intelligently in elections if they know what’s going on and how decisions are made and something is being discussed that might be happening in their backyard.”