Posted: April 30, 2014 1:58:01 PM PDT
New online tools make information about Bellingham City Council meetings easier for the public to access.
The new system is up and running on the City's website at www.cob.org/meetings. Complete meeting materials are now available by Wednesday afternoon prior to Monday's Council meeting (one day earlier). The packet can be downloaded to personal computers, saving paper, time and money.
"We are excited to offer this enhanced access to our citizens, staff and the Council," said Cathy Lehman, Council President. The project included providing iPads to Council members to easily review their meeting materials, both before and during the meetings.
The system enables online users to click on an agenda item and instantly see the documents associated with that item. After the meeting, when a user clicks on the agenda item the video fast-forwards to that specific spot in the meeting, and can be viewed while simultaneously reviewing the associated documents.
Separate agendas are posted for each City Council Committee meeting that may occur during the day, then all materials are replicated into the Regular City Council Meeting agenda for the full evening meeting.
The system also automated the agenda-building process, and reduced the clerical tasks and costs associated with publishing the often voluminous City Council packet. Printed packets will still be available for purchase, but the intent is to significantly reduce the number of packets that are printed.
The City's Planning Commission is next in line to be included in the integrated system.
The project, led by the Information Technology Services Department, began with a Request for Proposals in 2012, and was funded by the Technology Fund in 2013 and 2014. The improved system replaces older databases that are no longer supported.