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Lansdale Business Meeting Packets Now Available on Web

November 11 will mark the first time that Lansdale Council business meeting packets will be available in draft form for the public on the borough's website. The new policy was the work of the Communications Commission, based on an idea from two cou

The documentation borough council members look at on their iPads at council meetings is now available to be viewed by the public.

Council last Wednesday approved a policy for posting business meeting packets to the borough website.

Council was acting on a recommendation from the communications commission, who was in turn acting on a suggestion from councilmen Rich DiGregorio and Steve Malagari.

All business meeting documents, once approved by Manager Timi Kirchner, will be posted in PDF format to the website and marked as "draft."

"Documents ... will be posted no sooner than noon on the Thursday prior to the council meeting," said Communications Commission Chairman Denton Burnell at the Oct. 15 meeting.

Once the respective council meeting is over, new documents will be uploaded to the site and the drafts will be taken down.

The initial proposal from the Communications Commission had documents being removed from the site each month, as a new one was uploaded.

Economic Development Committee member Richard Strahm — whose committee met jointly Oct. 15 with the commission — suggested the documents remain archived on the site in order for citizens to research the past.

Communications Director Tracy Flynn said documents can remain on the site for extended periods of time, and it would just depend on storage space on the website.

The commission decided to keep documents on the site for one year. After a file has been on the site for one year, it will be purged.

Communication Commission member Rick Murphy suggested reducing the file size of the PDF in order to gain more storage space.

Strahm said the public isn't always aware of costs being associated with requests at borough hall for copies of documents.

He said the biggest price tag in the process is the solicitor's time in reviewing documents.

"We now look at it with an eye to the fact that they will all be very public documents immediately," said Kirchner. "Now that it's online, the staff does not have to spend hours making copies."

Kirchner added the recommendation is a testimony to the borough's upgrading of its technology.

Economic Development Committee Chair Mary Fuller was glad this process was moving forward.

"The sticking part before was the staff time. I am hopeful this will give us a better-prepared public," Fuller said.

Fuller extended her favoritism on the web posting of business packets at last Wednesday's council meeting.

"The reason I'm for it now," Fuller said, "is the difference in technology that we have since the last time this came up. It's much easier to get information up and out there. It takes less employee and staff hours."

Malagari applauded the Communications Commission for bringing on this policy.

"Like Mary said, it will be a lot easier for information to go out to the public. It will make it more visible to see this information," he said.

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