Malta may broadcast town meetings

"If you really want to make the most out of a Web page and your communication equipment, it has to work together," said David Newell of Core BTS.

The town's Building and Planning Department is engaging in an increasing amount of collaborative efforts with consultants who are not always based locally. Having communication capabilities beyond conference calls could help save on travel expenses and increase productivity.

"GlobalFoundries and M+W Zander [the chipmaker's building consultant] are all into this technology," said Schmidt.

The Town Board did not make any rulings on Tuesday, and will instead take time to digest the recommendations. After the meeting, Supervisor Paul Sausville noted that an investment in technology will likely have to be made at some point"the question is when.

"I think there's a lot of opportunities out there as we go into the 21st century," he said. "We're also in a tough budget year, so every dollar is a concern for us."

Schmidt also addressed queries about town government venturing into the social networking sphere. Residents and officials have suggested that the town have a Facebook or Twitter presence as another communication tool. Schmidt agreed with the idea, but said those popular Web venues might not be the proper place for the town, and suggested the more businesslike xumbox.com.

"I don't know if I would want my town meeting residing next to partybot.com," said Schmidt. "I think we need to have a more professional presence than on an open forum."

Xumbox also requires users to register using a physical address, making it simple to restrict access to residents and possible to send email alerts like boil water advisories to selected areas.

The Town Board expressed interest in the site, but wished to examine it further before taking any action.

Schmidt also announced that the town's Web site would be rolling out a "service request" feature that will allow residents to communicate complaints and issues directly to the town. It should be going live for the Building and Planning Department by the end of the month, and may be expanded to other areas in the future.

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