City Launches Discussion Forum

The City has started a discussion forum on their website. The system runs on phpBB — an excellent free, open-source software package that’s similar to the software that runs — and they have created one topic area thus far, “Budget FY 2002-2003.” This forum is being used as a method of getting your $0.02 to Council about the upcoming budget, but those of you that aren’t hip to the e-government thing can just attend next Tuesday’s City Council meeting at 7:30.

12 thoughts on “City Launches Discussion Forum”

  1. I suppose the credit should probably go to Halyard Systems and not the city for this, but I’m impressed with the use of phpBB as the discussion forums. It’s a fine package, and it’s free and open source. No cost (though surely it cost the City to have Halyard configure it, but you know what I mean), no hidden creepy Microsoft-style privacy violations… I think it’s wonderful that the city is making use of free, open source software. It’s not only good on a political and practical level, but it signals an interest in saving money.

  2. It’s nice to be able to discuss the budget, but I can’t find a copy of it anywhere on the city’s website. I typed “budget” into the search section and got 50 records back. None of which linked to the budget (or any budget for that matter). I rummaged through the resident section but found nothing.

    I applaud the goal, but relevant discussion is tough without relevant information. Anyone have a link to the Budget?

  3. The only thing that is available is the current (last years) budget and it is not on line. The proposed budget is a work in progress and won’t be complete until March. The individual department budgets for the new city budget are also unavailable. If you want a copy of last years budget you can get one from the City Managers office. The phone number is 970-3101.

    Kevin Cox

  4. One of the things that they want comments on is their e-government (yes, I believe that’s all lowercase) initiative. I don’t think a whole lot of money has to go into such a thing, since all that we really want is things like the budget saved as HTML from Word and plopped onto their site. :)

  5. Just a clarification on the purpose of the forum: This is not a hearing or forum on the proposed budget. The FY 2002-03 Proposed Budget has not yet been finalized. That public hearing is in March.

    However, the purpose of this forum on January 22 is to provide people the opportunity to speak to the 3 proposals that have already been presented to the Council (the trash sticker fees, auto decal fees, and e-911 surcharge fees). The decision the Council makes on whether or not to approve any of these proposals will affect how the 2002-03 budget is balanced.

  6. Sorry! Continuing my comment…and to speak to the other initiatives that the Council has listed as priorities going into next year…

  7. Fine job Waldo but the message board is far too cluttered with gizmo’s, buttons and choices and mouse-clicks. Please simplify it so it is as easy and direct as picking up a piece of chalk and scrawling on a blackboard. I do not need emoticons; I do not need user statistics. I do need to post a topic (which I could not do).

  8. I don’t think Waldo had any involvement in setting up the message board — you’ll just have to vote him into office so that he can get in there and clean it up a bit. ;)

  9. Giving credit where credit certainly is due, I thought he did. That is, didn’t the Thomas Jefferson Center hire Waldo to do an advance e-version of the free expression chalkboard they are planning for the Downtown Mall?

    Or are there now two different e-forums, one city-owned and one run by the Thomas Jefferson Center?

    Free expression was so much less confusing when all it needed was a can of spray paint and an attitude.

  10. Two totally different forums. One for the city for issues of particular interest to city government. Another for the virtual free speech chalkboard run by the T.J. Center for whatever anybody wants to say.

    Waldo was only involved with the virtual free speech site.

    So much to say, so many forums…

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