DailyCommercial.com: Clermont government transparency

From today’s edition of the Daily Commercial:

Clermont officials make effort to empower residents

By Roxanne Browne, Staff Reporter at the Daily Commercial

New software the city implemented is equipped with a feature that allows officials to make the entire city council agenda, along with the complete packet of supporting information, available online to the public before meetings.

Officials said they are hoping to empower residents with as many tools as possible to simplify the process of staying informed and participating in city happenings.

Image Clermont City Council

Clermont City Council members Van Wagner, Mullins, Mayor Turville, Goodgame, and Bates all serve two-year terms. Photo provided by www.cityofclermont.com.

“What we were trying to do is look at a way to promote transparency, plus improve public communication and efficiencies with our residents, and this new program (Suite One) allows us to do that,” said Clermont City Clerk/Master Municipal Clerk Tracy Ackroyd. “People will now have the ability to access our city website, search, browse and view whatever information they need from the supporting documents available for any agenda item.”

Previously, the city had its agenda online but didn’t have the capability to include all the support documents that were in the city council packets provided to council members and other officials.

Now interested residents will have the opportunity to prepare for meetings using the same set of documents and information as council members.

The documents will be available to the public at the same time as council members: on the Thursday afternoon preceding each city council meeting (usually scheduled for the second and fourth Tuesdays of each month).

“That’s the time frame we are able to finalize it and get it out to the council for them to have time to view it, so we wanted to make it available to the public then, too,” Ackroyd said, adding that when the new feature was announced at the last council meeting on Jan. 28, staff, council members and people in attendance seemed pleased with the new feature. “We also want people to know, however, that although we wanted them to have easy access to the information, we are still available should there be a need for further information or questions.”

For information, call the city clerk’s office at 352-241-7331. To view or download an agenda or supporting documents, go to www.cityofclermontfl.com.

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