Newtown Township

Technology Committee

Minutes of the meeting of NOVEMBER 24, 2009

The Newtown Township Technology Committee met on November 24, 2009 in the Newtown Township Building. In attendance and voting were Chairman Edward Lipski and members Lynn Brennan, Michael Horan and Jon Schnell.

Call to Order: The meeting was called to order at 7:30 PM.

September “Live Meeting”: Mr. Lipski said that since there was a conflict with another Township meeting scheduled for the last Tuesday in September, the Technology Committee met from their homes via “live meeting” to discuss recommendations for the new municipal building main meeting room. The members reviewed the proposals sent by vendors and agreed to recommend to the Township manager that the Township postpone many of the recommended upgrades, moving existing A/V equipment from the current meeting room instead. Because of the size of the new meeting room, the members did recommend purchasing two large flat-panel televisions for the public to view the proceedings. It is hoped that eventually, applicants will bring electronic copies of plans, which can be projected directly onto the television screens for viewers both in them meetings and viewing at home.

Mr. Schnell said that the use of “live meeting” was very helpful to the Technology Committee, allowing members to participate from home. It would be helpful to expand the use of this technology to other committees. While some training would be needed, the technology would allow committee members to participate in meetings from remote locations. Live meetings can be recorded and posted on the Township Web site.

Microsoft Producer: Mr. Schnell said he has been researching a product called “Microsoft Producer” which could be used to post the Township meetings on the Web, linked to the posted agenda. It would then be possible to click directly to any agenda item to see only that portion of the meeting. Mr. Schnell will continue to work with this product to give a presentation in January.

Park and Recreation Update: Mr. Lipski reported that www.newtownfun.com is now accepting on-line registrations paid by credit card. He will begin gathering statistical information on registrations for the January meeting.

In discussing the recreation site and expanding the use of the Township Web site to include video of the meetings and other uses, the Committee discussed the URL for the Township. It is currently www.twp.newtown.pa.us , which is not easily remembered. The members suggested different combinations of Newtown Township Pennsylvania 18940 @ dot com, dot org and dot net. They agreed to recommend that the Township purchase some of these names for a more easily memorized web address.

2010 Projects and Goals: Mr. Lipski asked the members to discuss goals for the coming year. He noted that the Committee had been very successful with the Park and Rec Web site and he would like to present the Board with some suggested goals when he next reports at a Supervisors meeting. The members outlined projects they would like to pursue in 2010, as follows:

  1. Video Streaming of Township Board of Supervisors meetings, “PowerPoint Producer”: The Committee will researchways to provide a web video of Board meetings with the added feature of clicking to the portion of the meeting where specific agenda matters are discussed. The viewer would also see associated documents if available.
  2. “Live Meeting” uses and education: Explore ways that the “live meeting” technology could be used by other committees, boards and commissions for sub-committee discussions, or for use by members off site during a regularly scheduled meeting. This will require some research as to where it would be most useful. It would also require some educational component for participants. The Committee might need the advice of the solicitor on whether a live meeting participant from a remote location would help to constitute a quorum or a majority for a vote.
  3. Paperless Initiative: The Committee will continue to learn how documents are generated, stored and used by the Township’s employees and volunteer and will be looking at ways to make use of the already licensed “SharePoint” software.
  4. Tax Office Technology: Committee members will visit the tax office with the goal of first learning what technology is currently available, and whether that technology is being utilized fully. Once the Committee has an understanding of the work being done and the technology already available, the members could possibly offer the tax collector some advice on improving technology use.

Minutes: Mr. Schnell moved to accept the minutes of October 27, 2009. Mr. Lipski seconded and the motion passed 2-0-2, with Ms. Brennan and Mr. Horan abstaining.

Other Business: Mr. Lipski asked the secretary to add a Technology Committee Report to the December 16, 2009 Board of Supervisors meeting and to prepare a synopsis for the Board packets.

Mr. Lipski polled the members on their availability for a December meeting and agreed to cancel that meeting. Meetings would resume on the last Tuesday in January, probably in the new municipal building.

Mr. Schnell moved to adjourn at 8:30 PM. Ms. Brennan seconded and the motion passed 4-0.

 

Respectfully Submitted:

 

Mary Donaldson, Recording Secretary