Terms and Definitions


The consent calendar consists of those items which are considered routine, for which a staff recommendation has been prepared, and for items which Council has previously discussed and no further discussion is required. The entire Consent Calendar is normally approved with one vote. Any Council Member may ask questions about items on the Consent Calendar before a vote is taken, or request that an item be removed from the Consent Calendar and placed on the regular agenda for more detailed discussion.


Council agenda material is available on the City Council "Agendas" webpage on the Friday preceding the Council meeting. Information regarding specific agenda topics may also be obtained from the City Clerk’s Office on the Friday preceding the Council meeting. You are encouraged to call the City Clerk’s Office at 425-587-3190 or the City Manager’s Office 425-587-3001 if you have any questions concerning City Council meetings, City services, or other municipal matters. The City of Kirkland strives to accommodate people with disabilities. Please contact the City Clerk’s Office at 425-587-3190 if you need assistance. Should you experience difficulty hearing the proceedings, please bring this to the attention of the Council by raising your hand.


Executive sessions may be held by the City Council to discuss matters where confidentiality is required for the public interest, including buying and selling property, certain personnel issues, and lawsuits. An executive session is the only type of Council meeting permitted by law to be closed to the public and news media.


Items From The Audience provides an opportunity for members of the public to address the Council on any subject which is not of a quasi-judicial nature or scheduled for a public hearing. (Items which may not be addressed under Items from the Audience are indicated by an asterisk*.) Speakers are requested to limit remarks to three minutes. No more than six speakers may address the Council on any one subject. If there are both proponents and opponents of a matter who wish to speak, only the first three persons speaking in favor of the matter and the first three persons speaking in opposition of the matter may address the Council.


A motion is typically used to indicate majority approval of a procedural action or to authorize disposition of routine items of business on the Council agenda. It also may be used to direct City staff to take certain administrative actions.


Business consists of items which have not previously been reviewed by the Council, and which may require discussion and policy direction from the Council.


Ordinances are legislative acts or local laws. They are the most permanent and binding form of Council action, and may be changed or repealed only by a subsequent ordinance. Ordinances normally become effective five days after the ordinance is published in the City’s official newspaper.


Public hearings are held to receive public comment on important matters before the Council. You are welcome to offer your comments after being recognized by the Mayor. After all persons have spoken, the hearing is closed to public comment and the Council proceeds with its deliberation and decision making.


Public comments are not taken on quasi-judicial matters, where the Council acts in the role of judges. The Council is legally required to decide the issue based solely upon information contained in the public record and obtained at special public hearings before the Council. The public record for quasi-judicial matters is developed from testimony at earlier public hearings held before a Hearing Examiner, the Houghton Community Council, or a city board or commission, as well as from written correspondence submitted within certain legal time frames. There are special guidelines for these public hearings and written submittals. 


At least four Council Members must be in attendance to reach a quorum in order to conduct a regular City Council Meeting.


When the Council feels further detailed study is needed on any matter, it may refer the item to the City Manager, to one or more of the citizen advisory boards and commissions for review and recommendations, or to a City Council committee created for a special purpose.


Resolutions are adopted to express the policy of the Council, or to direct certain types of administrative action. A resolution may be changed by adoption of a subsequent resolution.


Letters of a general nature (complaints, requests for service, etc.) are submitted to the Council with a staff recommendation. Letters relating to quasi-judicial matters (including land use public hearings) are also listed on the agenda. Copies of the letters are placed in the hearing file and then presented to the Council at the time the matter is officially brought to the Council for a decision.