Minutes of the meeting of August 25, 2009
The Newtown Township Technology Committee met on August 25, 2009 in the Newtown Township Building. In attendance and voting were Chairman Edward Lipski, Vice Chairman Anand Shukla and members Robert Bower, Lynne Brennan, Mike Horan and Jon Schnell. Also in attendance was Township Supervisor Mike Gallagher.
Call to Order: The meeting was called to order at 7:30 PM.
Approval of Minutes: Mr. Lipski moved to accept the minutes of July 28, 2009. Mr. Shulka seconded and the motion passed 5-0.
Park and Recreation Web Site: Mr. Lipski reported that he has been working with Park and Recreation Director Kathy Pawlenko to finalize a recommendation for a third party host for the Township Recreation Web site. Mrs. Pawlenko has scheduled a meeting with another vendor, but Mr. Lipski said he has some concerns because this would be a custom site and might be costly. He and Mrs. Pawlenko have been impressed by myrecdept.com, which specializes in municipal recreation sites, only. The Township currently has an arrangement for free credit card transactions through its bank. Details about extending this arrangement to the recreation host are being worked out. It appears that this will be possible.
Mr. Lipski noted that the myrecdept.com host would enter the current recreation brochure, after which Park and Rec personnel would be able to maintain the site, adding and closing classes as needed. The Department is still investigating how to transfer financial data on a daily basis to the finance department.
The Committee agreed that Mr. Lipski should recommend to the Park and Recreation Board that myrecdept.com should be contracted for hosting of the Park and Recreation Department Web site. Myrecdept.com specializes in municipal recreation and will provide the service for an annual cost of $3000. This is the same firm which hosts Northampton Township’s site. The Northampton Park and Recreation Director has been very satisfied and has reported an increase in enrollment because of the convenience of 24 hour on-line registration. Mrs. Pawlenko has also noted that the hosting will save some tedious work for her understaffed department, freeing her staff to attend to more productive tasks. If the Park and Recreation Board supports the recommendation, he would make that same recommendation at the September 9, 2009 Board of Supervisors meeting.
Technology Recommendations for New Municipal Building: The members reviewed a proposal from Visual Sound, Inc. for a system for the meeting room for both sound and visual, including television screens, microphones and Netbooks for the dais. Because of the high cost of the full proposal, over $100,000, Mr. Horan suggested that the Committee request three proposals, with pricing for a basic system to broadcast meetings, then two with additions.
In reviewing the proposal and pricing, members agreed that certain components seemed very nice, but not necessary, such as a “Sympodium” and Smart Boards. All agreed that they would need more information on the sound system, since none of the Committee members felt they had enough expertise to make any cuts to the sound proposal.
Mr. Gallagher suggested that in reviewing proposals, he would like to include internet access to the meetings. He suggested this could be helpful for Board members unable to attend a meeting.
Mr. Schnell suggested that the Committee continue its discussion of the details of the Visual Sound proposal via “live meeting.” This technology would enable the Committee members to meet from their homes using the internet, and if necessary, telephone. If successful for this Committee, the Committee could recommend it to the Board of Supervisors as a way to communicate with Township officials and consultants remotely. Mr. Schnell suggested that the Committee would report to the Supervisors the use of “live meeting” and arrange for an informal demonstration to Board members.
The Recording secretary agreed to prepare a written synopsis of the Committee’s report for the Board of Supervisors, with updated information of technology recommendations to be forwarded after the “live meeting”.
The meeting adjourned at 9:10 PM.
Mary Donaldson, Recording Secretary