Many other local cities post they entirety of their council meeting agenda packets to the web. This allows for city residents to really inform themselves of upcoming council meeting discussions without having to go through the extra step of requesting specific items from the City Clerk and having the Clerk then send over the relevant portions of the agenda background documentation.
While the City of Apple Valley isn’t the only local city to not include agenda background information on their website, the list of other cities who do: Burnsville, Farmington, Rosemount, and Savage, to name a few off the top of my head, is fairly long and spans the gambit of city size. Knowing that my requests for this information creates additional work for the City Clerk, I have repeatedly requested the City of Apple Valley begin posting agenda background information on their website for the public to view. This would save time and resources as well as better informing the public about upcoming meeting topics.
The time before last I was told the new website would make it easier for the CIty Clerk to post this information online. After waiting well over a year following the installation of the city’s very expensive and terribly designed website to begin showing the background packets, I asked again and here was the City of Apple Valley’s response:
Dear Mr. Roehl:
In response to your question about viewing Council Meeting packets online, what I’ve been told is that the City is working to configure and upgrade its Laserfiche server to allow public access to future agenda packets. They expect they should be able to launch the new service for the first Council packet in September (which is September 10).
While this provides yet another concrete date which could very well be missed, much like the last time they delayed me, I don’t at all understand why a document imaging system needs to be paid for and upgraded to interface with the web when it’s just as easy to print the documents to PDF and post them on the website. This could be accomplished RIGHT NOW with little or no cost to the City of Apple Valley.
Do you live in a city where there are no agenda backgrounds posted to the web? Do you think that all available information for city council meetings should be posted publicly and not require a resident to jump through hoops while possibly repeatedly wasting the time of the City Clerk to get information out? Are you surprised that the City of Apple Valley keeps delaying the posting of the packets into the future due to potentially expensive technological reasons when they have the ability to send out PDFs of the packets to those who ask right now? Whatever you have to say about this one go ahead and comment on as I’d love to hear your thoughts.