WASHINGTON — The city is looking to make changes in some of the rules regarding public comments at city meetings.

An amended ordinance was given a first reading Monday by the City Council. The revised ordinance will come back for a vote Nov. 20.

"We haven't had any problems with public comments. We just want to update our ordinance and bring us in line with what other communities do," said Washington Mayor Gary Manier.

The amended ordinance updates an ordinance passed by the council in 1983 that deals only with council meetings. All city meetings are included in the updated ordinance.

"Unlike the 1983 ordinance, the amended ordinance doesn't ask for people to provide advance notice of their desire to speak at a meeting and removes the requirement to provide their address, which is no longer allowed under state law," said City Administrator Jim Culotta.

The per person time limit for a public comment at a council meeting remains five minutes in the amended ordinance. There's a three-minute time limit per person for other city meetings. In both cases, the presiding officer at a meeting can extend the time limit for a speaker.

There's a 20-minute maximum total time period for public comments at a council meeting and a 15-minute maximum total time period for other city meetings.

"However, the maximum total time period can be extended by a majority vote of the council or the committee holding the meeting," Culotta said.

There are other rules in the amended ordinance regarding when the presiding officer can end a public comment, redundant public comments and decorum when making a public comment.

Also at Monday's council meeting:

-The council approved a three-year agreement with the Washington Fire Department for fire protection and prevention and ambulance and emergency medical services that went into effect Wednesday and will continue through Oct. 30, 2020. The city will pay the fire department $477,544 for fire services and $1,432,632 for ambulance and emergency medical services over the length of the contract. Total payment will be $618,000 for the first year with a 3 percent increase in the second and third years.

 -The council approved payments of $68,750 for fire services and $206,250 for ambulance and emergency medical services to the Fire Department for the six-month period May 1 through Oct. 31.

- Roger Traver, the Fire Department's director of operations, reported that the department responded to 125 calls in October, bringing the number to 1,241 for the year. That's a 10.6 percent increase from last year in the same time period. The department had responded to 1,122 calls through October 2016. There were 95 EMS calls last month and the department responded to four house fires, one in the Northern Tazewell Fire Protection District.

Steve Stein can be reached at 686-3114 or stevestein21@yahoo.com. Follow him on Twitter @SpartanSteve.