Newtown Township

Technology Committee

Minutes of the meeting of May 29, 2012

Present: Chairman Ed Lipski, and members Kyle Davis, Dan Paramesh, Bob Penland and Prasad Ramnath.

Call to Order: Mr. Lipski called the meeting to order at 7:30 PM.

Approval of Minutes: Mr. Lipski moved to accept the minutes of April 24, 2012. Mr. Ramnath seconded and the motion passed 6-0.

New Business

Electronic Packets: The recording secretary reported that the Township is ready to move forward with electronic packets for its committees, boards and commissions. She showed the members sample Supervisors packets, noting that the Planning Commission also works with very large packets, sometimes containing hundreds of pages of plans, applications, letters, etc.

The Technology members were in agreement that a pilot program for a few Supervisors at first would be the best approach. If any glitches or difficulties are discovered they can be addressed before making a full transition.

Mr. Penland demonstrated “GoogleDocs” as a way to share information among members. He said that it would be easy for all to open and view at home. Information could be posted as PDF’s so they could not be altered once posted.

The members discussed hardware, suggesting that inexpensive laptops could be purchased for the dais which could connect to the internet, but would not need any additional software. They suggested hardwiring the dais for stronger internet connection.

Development of 5-Year Plan

Codes Department: Mr. Davis and Mr. Penland reported that they met with the Codes Department to discuss their technology uses and needs. The Department would like to see Docstar upgraded. It currently does not properly link with the AMS system, although it should. One concern with Docstar is that the Department cannot search it using tax map parcels. It was noted that the department is about one year behind in indexing.

The Department also has concerns that with the “right to know” law, inquiries must be answered within seven days. The current indexing method has made this very difficult.

Mr. Penland said that he also had concerns about the server used for Docstar; it makes a lot of noise and does not seem healthy.

The members outlined some issues with addressing either an upgrade or migration to new system:

  • How is Docstar backed up
  • If it is not backed up, this needs to be addressed immediately
  • How will old documents be migrated if new system is used
  • Might be better to upgrade Docstar as migration could be costly
  • If upgraded, training should be part of any deal made with vendors.
  • Process for Docstar (or any replacement document management system) needs to be standardized with someone in charge.
  • Messrs. Davis and Penland will research indexing further

Without objection the meeting adjourned at 9:15 PM.


Respectfully Submitted:


Mary Donaldson, Recording Secretary