By Lisa Loomis
Waitsfield's zoning base is outdated and the town's zoning administrator, Susan Senning, has asked the select board to budget funds to fix it.
Due to changing software and changing computer operating systems, the zoning database on Senning's computer is precariously maintained. The select board discussed a memo from Senning at its November 10 meeting.
The board learned that if Senning's computer were to crash, the town does not have any other software program to re-install the database on another computer. The program that she is using was created over a decade ago by a Fayston software developer who subsequently sold that program to BMSI. The town now needs to convert the database from its current platform and to do so will need to purchase software support with updating and conversion estimated at $4,500.
When Vermont's open meeting law went into effect last July, it required towns to provide specific types of information in very specific ways on the town's website. Waitsfield is technically in violation of the law, according to Senning, although penalties will not be assessed until July 2015.
"The planning commission is seriously concerned about this status and felt as though the website should have been disabled immediately upon the law's effective date. In lieu of this option, they requested that I look into website redevelopment options. The Snelling Center has provided me with an estimate of $2,000 to $3,500 to develop a new template, convert our essential data, manage the integration and train at least two town employees (likely Valerie and myself)," Senning wrote in a memo to the select board.
The planning commission will be submitting a formal proposal to the select board for updating the website. The select board approved the funds to convert the town's database.