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Tuesday, February 27, 2024

Three elected officials to be sworn in during next week’s Ocala City Council meeting

Three elected officials will be sworn in during the Ocala City Council meeting on Tuesday, December 5, and the city is providing several options for citizens to observe and participate in the public meeting.

The city council meeting will begin at 4 p.m. at Ocala City Hall, which is located at 110 SE Watula Avenue. During this meeting, reelected council members Ire Bethea, Sr. (District 2) and Kristin Dreyer (District 4) will be sworn in, along with newly elected mayor Ben Marciano.

Ben Marciano, Kristen Dreyer, Ire Bethea, Sr.
Ben Marciano (left), Kristen Dreyer (center), Ire Bethea, Sr. (right)

Due to the anticipated larger-than-normal audience for this meeting, citizens will be able to watch and/or take part in this meeting by:

  • Attending the meeting in-person, if seating/space is available.
  • Submitting public comments in advance of the meeting.
  • Viewing a livestream on the city’s website.

For those wishing to attend the meeting in person, capacity limits are as follows: 117 guests in council chambers, 36 guests in the second-floor lobby, and 32 guests in the first-floor lobby. Additional covered seating will be set up outside in Citizens’ Circle, where the meeting will be livestreamed. Four entrances to City Hall will be open and staffed with security to expedite the screening and entry process.

For individuals who are unable to attend meetings in person, a livestream can be accessed by using the following steps:

  • Go to the City of Ocala’s website: ocalafl.gov.
  • On the main page, under the word ‘Government,’ a drop-down menu will appear.
  • Click on ‘Agendas and Minutes’ in the left column, and this will direct participants to the meeting page.
  • Find the column marked ‘City Council.’
  • In the video column, select the hyperlink labeled ‘In Progress’ to watch the current livestream.

For anyone who is unable to attend the meeting in person, written comments can be submitted by emailing the City Clerk (at: citycouncil@ocalafl.org) by no later than 2 p.m. on the day of the meeting or by physically mailing the written comments to 110 SE Watula Avenue, Ocala, FL 34471.

All written comments received by the deadline will be distributed to the mayor, city council members, and appropriate staff before the start of the meeting. Florida’s Sunshine Laws require that all submitted comments be entered into the public record.

The city will accommodate everyone who wishes to make public comments, subject to seating/space limitations. Public comments are limited to three minutes, and additional time may be granted by the City Council President.

Seating and standing room may be limited based on fire code regulations. In addition, seating and standing room are available on a first-come, first-served basis until safe capacity is reached.

For guests who wish to make public comments but are unable to enter the building once capacity is reached, they will be allowed inside and in council chambers to speak once other guests have exited the building.

City staff are assigned to the first and second floors to continually monitor the number of guests present and to communicate when space frees up for additional guests to enter. Each guest will enter City Hall though a security check point.

Any person requiring special accommodations should contact the City Manager’s Office at: 352-629-8401 at least 48 hours in advance so that proper arrangements can be made.

Those who wish to make a public comment may obtain a speaker request form from the City Clerk’s office by phone (352-629-8266) or email (clerk@ocalafl.org). Anyone wishing to make a public comment may also utilize their right to speak during the regular public comment portion of the meeting.

Residents are also encouraged to sign up for the City of Ocala e-notification system to receive information about public meetings, posting of agendas, announcements, events, and newsletters.

For more information, contact the City Manager’s Office at 352-629-8401.