Working on transparency in town government, I spent a lot of time trying to figure out what actually happens at various committee meetings. It’s not a simple task on the town website: information is scattered in several different places. Important attachments are in separate links than the agenda, sometimes requiring multiple clicks to find key documents. This shouldn’t be so hard.
So I built a meeting tracker, to make Amazing Agendas for some town committees!
What Are Amazing Agendas?
The simplest explanation is to see my Amazing Agendas meeting tracker for the Redevelopment board!
The meeting tracker lays out historical Redevelopment Board (ARB) meeting agendas all together, back to 2018. Each agenda is complete and formatted, so it’s easy to read and you see everything the board planned to cover. Every agenda item is linked back to the source materials, including all the Correspondence that town voters may have sent into the committee. There are also clear links to download the Legal Minutes in PDF, which can tell you what ended up happening in that meeting - and I include links to the ACMi videos too!
Equally important is adding Docket numbers and links to town warrant articles. Many ARB agendas mention “Docket #3602”, which might not mean anything to you. My Amazing Agendas annotates this so you know that Docket #3602 is really the Hotel Lexington project, which you may be interested in. I plan to add an index of all Correspondence sent, so you can easily see who is writing letters to the ARB regularly on different matters. There are a ton of letters sent around town meeting warrant time too that are easier to find now!
What Are YOU Curious About?
What else is not obvious about how town committees work? If you want to know more, read my Guide To Town Hall Committees and then check out Envision Arlington Govenment Primer. Another question that’s not always obvious is: which committee members are paid, either as part of their job (if a town employee), just a stipend (Select Board), or are purely volunteer with no current compensation (School Board).
The first step to having informed citizens is making it simpler for citizens is to read my primer on how town government works, so it’s easy for you to know who to ask for more information on your issues of concern. If you’ve got other ideas of what you’d like to know, let me know!
How To Report Corrections
If you’ve spotted an error or problem, please let me know! Be sure to include source links to the town website or laws if there’s an error in anything that comes from the town - I’m trying to ensure everything presented about government matters has a clear source.
If you’ve got a GitHub account, proposing changes is easy: just click the “Propose change on GitHub” link at the bottom of the page. Otherwise, you can always email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thanks for reading!