Milton’s first virtual Town Meeting expected to take place June 15
Town Moderator Bob Hiss and Milton Access TV Director Mike Lynch of, together with several town meeting members, tested out a new process to hold a virtual town meeting this June 15th.
In order to participate, Town Meeting Members (TMMs) will first receive an invitation to participate in the meeting, with a confirmation link. They will then receive a confirmation and another email with a second link to join the Zoom meeting. This will help to ensure that only confirmed Town Meeting Members are in attendance. There will also be training sessions ahead of the virtual meeting, offered to TMMs.
The virtual Town Meeting will be run like a webinar, using Zoom. Speakers will have video enabled, but Town Meeting Members will not. This is primarily due to bandwidth issues. Adding video greatly increases need for bandwidth, which could result in pesky technical glitches. A smoother experience is expected by removing the video option for participants.
Town Meeting Members will be muted for most of the meeting, and will be unmuted by the hosts if and when they “raise their hand” (an option within the Zoom webinar application) to speak to an article. The moderator can see the order in which people “line up” to speak to an article and will be able address each speaker in order. TMMs with questions will “raise their hands,” be unmuted, required to announce name and precinct, allowed to speak, and when done speaking, will “put their hand down” and be re-muted.
When an article is up for vote, members will be presented with a “poll” to vote on, replacing the traditional voice vote:
The “fun” of the virtual meeting is being able to immediately see the vote percentages:
Moderator Hiss indicated that one or more consent agendas will voted upon at the beginning of the meeting, in order to help with efficiency. This may include the budget itself. He expects the meeting to go on for two nights, primarily due to the capping of voting/polling at 25 polls, a Zoom restriction.
The entire virtual Town Meeting will be streamed live on MATV and will also be recorded for future viewing, much like traditional Town Meetings.
Although state legislation to enable a video/virtual meeting is still pending, it is expected to pass. Legislation has already passed in the state senate, but is currently awaiting some revisions in the House, and will then need to be signed by Governor Baker.
Are you a Town Meeting Member?
Please make sure you respond to the survey in your inbox, sent out in late April.
Several TMMS have indicated that this important survey ended up in their “unimportant mail” folders.
The survey will help the Town and Moderator to ensure that all Town Meeting Members can participate in the virtual meeting.