FLINT TWP. — When the township board’s new Accela software program goes “live” at its April 17 meeting, the public will gain access to board information packets.
It will forever change the way that agendas, minutes and other information is presented, said Clerk Kathy Funk.
“We will enter the 21st century finally,” she said of the state-of-the-art software currently in use by the City of Burton, Atlas Township and other municipalities across the state and nation.
The board attended a special e-meeting on Monday before its regular meeting to learn how to access the program using various electronic devices.
Speaking by phone from a remote location, the trainer walked the board and other township officials through the process of logging onto the system and using its tools to make notes, share information and other useful information management features.
The board will receive its April 17 agenda via the Accela program. But one of the biggest innovations is that township residents will also be able to access the same packet of board information. In the past, only the board agenda was publicly accessible and the information packets were only provided to board members and the media (with some exceptions).
A log-in provided only to board members will give them access to additional information not available to the public, the trainer said.
Funk said that the township board is the first to be set up in the Accela system and the Planning Commission is next, with a go live date sometime in May. Eventually all township boards and services will be incorporated into the system.
The software allows different departments to communicate with each other. In January, when the township board approved the purchase of the program, Funk said it would reduce board packet time down from a full day to a few minutes. Being a time saver will free up staff for other duties and reduce the need to hire extra help during busy times such as elections, she said.
Also Accela enables minutes from meetings to be written in “real time” as the meeting is being conducted. It also will provide greater transparency to residents by providing access to most of the same background information that board members receive on a given issue.