Hawley Selectboard votes to get Zoom account

Staff Writer
Published: 8/5/2022 3:40:35 PM
Modified: 8/5/2022 3:37:29 PM

HAWLEY — More than two years into the world of remote meetings, Hawley is entering the Zoom world.

In an effort to invite more public participation at meetings, the Selectboard voted Tuesday night to use money saved by the town’s cheaper internet service to pay for a $150 Zoom Pro membership.

The town had been previously using FreeConferenceCall.com to provide remote participation, but the Selectboard figured paying for a Zoom account would be more convenient for residents wanting to listen to the meetings, while also allowing more seamless screen-sharing and video-conferencing options.

Both Financial Administrator Virginia Gabert and Selectboard member Hussain Hamdan said one Zoom account should suffice for the town of 353 people, especially because most of the time, when two boards are meeting at the same time, they’re usually hosting a joint meeting.

“A single Zoom account would probably be adequate for the town,” Hamdan said. “It’s not very likely you’d have two groups meeting independently.”

The board approved the use of the funds for Zoom, but not without a slight hitch. The board initially gave its approval to spend $200 on a business account, which would have allowed the town to host larger meetings and webinars. While Gabert was looking at plans, however, she found that a business account requires a minimum of 10 licenses, which would have cost $2,000. Instead, the board opted for the $150 pro license.

“We’re not going to spend that kind of money,” Hamdan said. “If they want the gravy on the turkey, they can deal with that later.”

Instructions on how to access Hawley’s Selectboard meetings via Zoom will be included at the bottom of meeting agendas, which can be access at townofhawley.com.

“I think it will be a great benefit to the town and make these meetings more available to the citizens,” said Selectboard Chair Will Cosby. “Better late than never.”

Chris Larabee can be reached at clarabee@recorder.com or 413-930-4081.


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