PORTLAND — Beginning Monday, the City Council will start its meetings at 5 p.m. instead of 5:30 p.m. and will limit the duration of the public comment period for non-agenda items to one hour, from 6 to 7 p.m.

The new public comment rule approved Monday allows councilors to reopen non-agenda public comment before 11 p.m. if the council has finished with other agenda items.

Spencer Thibodeau, chairperson of the city council’s rules and policy committee, said agenda items often had to be pushed off to the next meeting because non-agenda public comment cut into the time the council had to debate other items.

“We wanted to do is make sure if you are on the agenda, that an issue is on the agenda, we would get to that item,” he said.

Members of the public, including Joey Brunelle and George Rheault, took exception to the change, arguing the committee was limiting public comment.

“There are times when there are things going on in the community that the council doesn’t necessarily have on its agenda or aren’t dealing with in the urgency the public wishes and unagenda public comment is one of the few public ways the community can speak to the council,” Brunelle said.