I feel that lately I have been on a tear wanting to see all the government websites up to snuff and truly serving the taxpaying citizens who live here. I believe that every governmental entity that spends taxpayer money, has elected officials and has open meetings AND have websites also ought to have the meeting notices, agendas, minutes after the meeting and audio available for others to read and hear. Glen Rose ISD also adds the packet information online in their board meeting sections so that the public can read what the board members received (sans executive session information, of course). For that and many other things, they deserve kudos. And I've said before, I'm pretty excited for when GRISD starts putting up audio podcasts of the school board meetings.
Let me add, today, a strong shoutout for the Somervell County Water District site, which not only is attractive to look at, but contains a lot of information, arranged well, about that entity. Here's the link. I said a while back I had gone to the new building and got a tour from Kathy Brown-I hadn't known at that point about the plans to put in a beach on the reservoir. The Water District also recently made a new weather site (I put a link to it on the left hand column) which is really great and tells all the weather buffs LOTS of information about wind speeds, temperatures, etc.
For open government partisans like me, they have the agendas and minutes posted, and upon a recent request, began adding the check registers so that you can see what checks are being written out and what they were for. I really appreciate that. If you look under Board Notices, you not only see the notices of upcoming (or previous) meetings, but also a map! Under Board Minutes are the minutes so that if you weren't able to come to meetings, you could see what happened. That's also where the check registers are posted.
I had also asked, about a week ago, whether it would be possible for the Somervell County Water District to again start recording meetings and post audio on the website. I had been to a meeting a few years ago, when the Water District was still in that lovely custom house, where the meeting was recorded via tape. At some point the district decided to stop recording the meetings.I got back a reply from Mr Taylor regarding this.
With regard to your request to post an audio recording of our meetings on the website, we only have one clerical staff member for the entire district and we chose to stop performing audio recordings of our meetings a couple of years ago. It is much more efficient to just take minutes and we make those minutes of each meeting available to the public on the district's web site within 24 hours of being approved by our Board.
I wrote back to request that I might get on the agenda to present how digital recorders work, and how efficiently. I absolutely agree that to take an (old-fashioned) tape recorder and turn it into a digital file to put on the web is time consuming and definitely would not be a good use of one person's time. But with digital recorders, the recorded file is already in electronic, digital form and only has to be copied to a server and linked to. In other words, only takes a few minutes to do. I asked to be added to the agenda for the next meeting, it's the techie in me.
I can very quickly show how easy it is to both use a digital recorder and post the audio to the internet (less than 5 minutes)
I heard a bit ago today that Mr Taylor has put in an order for recording equipment and will be recording meetings from here on out and posting the audio to the SCWD website.
I think it's to Mr Taylor's credit that he was concerned about the best use of staff's time and also to his credit that he sees the value of once again recording meetings and making them available to the public via the website.
A big huge thank you! Again, if you haven't looked at their website, you really need to. There are some excellent diagrams and pictures showing how the water pipes are going to be laid throughout the county and on what schedule. And SCWD, you are lucky to have Kathy Brown working for you, she is a truly professional gem.