KEARNEY — It just got easier for citizens of Buffalo County to be informed about their government.
The Buffalo County Board of Commissioners has begun posting the agendas for their twice-monthly public meetings on the county’s website.
In addition, information pertinent to many of the items and topics on the agenda is being posted. That means that citizens of Buffalo County will have online access to much of the information that commissioners discuss during their meetings. The information is used to decide issues that include road maintenance, land use, equipment purchases and county regulations, to name a few.
“The most disappointing thing in my career is how little interest people have in government,” said Bill McMullen, a 28-year veteran on the seven-member county board. As chairman of the county board, he said it’s his wish that posting agendas and additional information gives citizens of Buffalo County the means to inform themselves and be more active in their government.
During the county board’s Feb. 4 meeting, the commissioners decided a couple of land use issues. Information about those agenda items was included in the agenda packet. Also included was a draft of proposed rules for road and street maintenance in rural subdivisions.
Internet technology is making it easier and less costly to disseminate information, McMullen said.
“We county board members used to get a packet in the mail every week. Board meetings were on Tuesdays, so the clerk tried to get everything mailed out on Thursdays, but then the mail got slow,” McMullen recalled. “Those packets cost about $4.50 to $6 for postage, so if you’re not getting them it’s a waste of money.”
The county then went paperless by loading agendas and packet information on laptop computers that are supplied to each board member.
“Here in the last couple of years we tried to have it on our laptops. A lot of the guys were having a hard time following things during the meeting, so it was better having a hard copy,” McMullen said about board members’ difficulty using their laptops.
The county board’s meetings on the second and fourth Tuesdays of the month are open to the public and are conducted in the commissioners meeting room in the northeast corner of the courthouse. County residents who want to access agendas and packets can go to the county’s website at www.buffalocounty.ne.gov. Find the county offices listing and press the county board button to select an agenda and meeting packet.
New agendas and packets are posted on the Friday before each county board meeting.
Now that agendas and packets are posted online, it means Buffalo County residents have the opportunity to inform themselves about their government and hold their elected officials accountable, McMullen said.
“We’re trying to be transparent,” he said.
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