A blog about living in Aberdeen, New Jersey.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Counting the Minutes in Aberdeen

Published agendas suggest that the Aberdeen Council approved the publication of its 6 July, 20 July, 24 August,and 7 September minutes at its 24 August and 21 September meetings. Undoubtedly there are extraordinary circumstances preventing the Council from promptly publishing the approved minutes of these four meetings, but I would like to record my concern for the failure of the process. While publishing these records online is still more in the realm of courtesy than law, the Council should realize that public access to these records demonstrates the government's commitment to transparency.

Supporting documents, such as the 2010 Budget recently debated and approved, are referenced in agendas and minutes but are routinely unavailable online. The Council should consider public interest in these materials and make available whatever they can, giving due consideration to privacy concerns. For example, The Independent reported the total 2010 Budget figure of approximately $15 million and the approximately $9 million in revenues that would come from taxes. But the article only mentioned the approximately $364,000 reduction in state aid, leaving the precise figures for the balance of revenues a mystery. What is the source of one-third of the township's revenues? One is left to wonder.

I'm a firm advocate for more information promptly provided. I admit that is an uncommon mantra in local New Jersey politics, but I'll keep pressing the point.


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