This post sets forth the responses of the Selectboard candidates running for for the two-year seat on the topic of Communications. See this post for the responses of candidates for the three-year seat. [The five-question Questionnaire is here.]
Communications. Are you satisfied with how Town government communicates with Norwich residents? Why or why not? By how much would you be willing to INCREASE the Town Budget in order to to improve communications?
I think we struggle to effectively communicate right now. Part of this is technology- the Norwich website is very outmoded and not searchable. Plus no committees or boards can access it to upload info. We should have a modernized site with each group having custody of its page within the site for posting their announcements, meeting minutes etc. The other challenge is time. Town staff simply struggle to have enough time to effectively communicate. I proposed adding a new position that would coordinate all Town communications as part of this year’s budget discussion, but that proposal was defeated. I will continue to push for that.
I believe the Town can and must improve its communication with residents. Furthermore, effective communication goes far beyond the “feel good” paid-PR pieces created by Story Kitchen and should include updates about key issues that directly impact Town residents.
For example, Norwich can easily implement a Town wide text messaging service for those who opt in. The cost via Club Texting ($29/month) is a fraction (5%) of the Story Kitchen cost ($495/month) and these messages can be limited to emergencies or meeting reminders.
Also, it’s very easy to have a bulletin board placed at the Recycling Center which highlights the upcoming meetings and the minutes (cost = $0).
Finally, the “minutes” from Selectboard and Committee meetings should be actual “minutes” which include details about decisions made, by whom, participants, and agenda items discussed.
Additionally, the Town can increase its ListServ postings (cost = $0).
A candidate forum, sponsored by the Norwich Women's Club, is scheduled for Tuesday February 26 from 7-8:30 pm. The meeting has been moved to the new training room at the fire station. Per the Chief of Police: There is limited parking at the Public Safety Facility. Please try and ride with someone and please do not park on Fire House Lane or park as to obstruct Police or fire department vehicles from coming and going.