/ Articles / St. Germain approves procedural ordinances

St. Germain approves procedural ordinances

April 17, 2020 by Brian Jopek

Meeting again Monday in special session via the Zoom virtual meeting platform, the St. Germain Town Board approved ordinances drafted as the result of another virtual special town board meeting the week before on March 30. 

The ordinances dealt primarily with town procedures during not only the current COVID-19 situation, but also for other situations in the future, such as the town chairman being unable to attend meetings and the need for getting checks signed in the event designees such as the town chairman wouldn’t be able to. 

Also brought up by town supervisor Ted Ritter at the March 30 meeting was the possibility of making town board meetings more readily accessible to the public via virtual or video means. 

He told the town board at that meeting he’d spent about 20 minutes of research to come up with a rough cost estimate of $3,000 to equip the meeting room in the St. Germain community center for that purpose, to include two screens, one mounted in the front of the room and one to the rear.

He stressed the $3,000 was indeed a rough estimater and an information technology (IT) person could help more with details if that was the direction the town board decided to go. 

Town chairman Tom Christensen on Wednesday told The Lakeland Times by the time it’s eventually done, he believes it will cost a little more.

“But those are details that can all be worked out,” he said.  

At Monday’s meeting, the town board approved a community outreach message essentially announcing the board’s adoption of the virtual meetings technology.

Christensen on Wednesday said overall, despite some glitches here and there and the knowledge there have been reported security issues with the platform Zoom is working on, he’s been satisfied overall with the virtual  results from the first two meetings where it’s been utilized. 

As far as the town board taking action now to approve an ordinance including who would run meetings in the town chairmen’s absence and make meetings more accessible to the public using technology such as Zoom, he said while there has been discussion at times about it going back to at least 2017, restrictions put in place because of COVID-19 has definitely moved things up. 

“We’re in a different time and everybody, I think, just grew up a little bit.”

Transparency is a big part of it.

“I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that,” Christensen said. “There’s a better way to get our message and the message of our town out so our townspeople can hear what’s going on and they can participate easier.”

Brian Jopek may be reached via email at [email protected]

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