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Rural / small town How many years of meeting minutes?

dvdneal

Cyburbian
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#1
I usually keep just one year of meeting minutes on the website. It's easy for me and no one really looks at the things anyway. I have one "resident" that must see every thing the county ever put out and it should all be on the website despite the fact he can get it free on request through the email. As a small county we don't want to overload our website with information people aren't using. So how many years worth of minutes do you people keep online? Are you a bigger city with the resources to archive everything?
 

NHPlanner

Forums Administrator & Gallery Moderator
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#2
My rule of thumb has always been current year plus the past 2 years (minutes, agendas, etc) on the website, everything prior to that available upon request to the department.
 

darnoldy

Cyburbian
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#3
As a small county we don't want to overload our website with information people aren't using.
Information that people aren't accessing doesn't impact your server load at all! It does use disk space—but you're going to store it on a disk someplace anyway.
 

otterpop

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#4
our county does not keep meeting minutes on our website. They are separately stored either on cassette tapes or on separate electronic storage. If someone wants meeting minutes they can request copies at a nominal fee, or listen to the tapes themselves in our office.
 

dvdneal

Cyburbian
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#5
I'm finding this is an all or nothing type of deal. Some seam to have a system like darnoldy is talking about. Since it's electronic it's available. We seem to rent our website space so it's limited. Most around me seem to keep just the last minutes up if you're lucky. Since this is just one over zealous citizen that likes to hoard paperwork and not do a free records request I'm turning it over to IT so they can use this as an excuse to get the extra capacity they need anyway. I just don't want to put crap on the website for one idiot, but I think I'm going to lose that one.
 

ColoGI

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#6
Information that people aren't accessing doesn't impact your server load at all! It does use disk space—but you're going to store it on a disk someplace anyway.
...and I found that space requirement minimal back when I did this sort of thing. You'll find that taking the time to delete old minutes takes time away from something that is a higher priority.
 
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#7
Like we say in indexing: "As always, it depends."

I disagree with limits like two years when it comes to accessibility to council minutes. Minutes should be harbored in a complete and accessible format, going back as long as possible. What happens when a matter comes up repeatedly over the span of a decade? It happens. How does the public inform themselves over the duration of projects that have spider legs lasting many years? They need to be able to. What did the project's genesis look like before the recession, and what sort of decisions were made before it took place? Nobody will know if there's no record kept.

It's the duty of government to be as transparent and comprehensive as possible in providing information to its citizens -- and council, commission and other meeting minutes should be part of that. Heck, many of the decision-makers in those meetings can't recall how they voted on a matter 5 years ago, let alone 6 months ago in some cases. How does a town official inform their decision-making if there's no record? They wouldn't. They'd be treading water in the ether....and sadly, many of them do as it is anyway.

That said, I'm struggling to find a valid argument for limiting access to past council minutes, unless there's a definite need to conserve space for administrative or technology reasons....and if the latter is in fact so, I'd fail to understand why the jurisdiction doesn't just update their equipment to provide server space, or what have you. It's not that difficult. It's the year 2015, not Year 1....we're not in a Jack Black movie, or at least I'd hope not.

This is yet another one of those issues at the heart of providing accessible and complete information for the public -- the folks bankrolling the existence of government in the first place. Information should be accessible, comprehensive and complete. Period.
 

AG74683

Cyburbian
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#8
We have Board of Commissioners minutes online back to 2004. It looks like the website is set up to have all the minutes dating back to 1915, but they haven't been scanned in yet.
 

dvdneal

Cyburbian
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#9
. It's not that difficult. It's the year 2015, not Year 1....we're not in a Jack Black movie, or at least I'd hope not.
Sadly I feel like I am sometimes. Technology is not a priority around here. Many residents still like to have me mail them things or even fax (you remember faxing?) There seems to be a lot of people without email around this place.
 
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#11
Somewhat off topic... the mid-sized city in which I live, but not work, has not been updating their website to include the meeting minutes for the last three planning board meetings (or the agenda for the last one). I have no idea why that's the case. I've been keeping quiet and waiting to see how long it would be before our local and vocal community activists would pick up on it but nothing yet. There have been items ranging from very minor to medium importance. I'm starting to wonder what's exactly going on, and debating if I should sent a courtesy email. There are some big items coming up in the near future, and potentially someone could argue that they were unaware an item of community-wide importance was on the agenda and soliciting public comment...
 
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#12
Sadly I feel like I am sometimes. Technology is not a priority around here. Many residents still like to have me mail them things or even fax (you remember faxing?) There seems to be a lot of people without email around this place.
I feel your pain. We make changes to the website but I swear we need to make it automatically "skqueeeeeeee skreeeettt" and make dial-up sounds for some to be on board with anything. We keep only one year - but we just started that when I got here so it's spotty at best right now.
 
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