Improvements To Town Communications Are In The Works

By Jim Danforth, Board of Selectmen

Starting in 2013, residents will be able to contact all elected and appointed town officials by phone and e-mail. The Board of Selectmen has authorized a new Web-based phone system for the Town offices that will reduce cost and provide all departments, officials, and committees with individual extensions. As the new phone system requires all extensions to have an e-mail address to access messages, e-mail addresses will also be set up for all departments, officials, and committees.

I am currently reviewing ways to improve communication between the Town and our residents. With many in town switching to Dish and DIRECTV, watching Selectmen’s meetings on our Andover Community Access Cable Channel 8 is not an option for them, and unless you have access to the Internet, an improved Town Web site is not going to improve your access. At this time, only The Andover Beacon reaches every household in town.

It is my intention to propose to the Board of Selectmen that we change the line item in the 2013 Town budget from “Cable TV” to “Communications.” That budget line would cover:

  • Development of an improved Town Web site
  • Continued operation of Cable Channel 8

The current “temporary” Town Web site at needs to be updated and improved to provide correct information, Town forms, policies and calendars. If you have suggestions for other improvements to the Town Web site, please e-mail me at

Cable Channel 8 provides unique coverage of the Selectmen and School Board meetings, Town and School District Meetings, and many other events here in Andover. If you have ideas on programming or improvements, please contact the Cable TV Committee directly at

I am also proposing a special Town government news section in The Andover Beacon that would be in addition to the current coverage, but would be carefully formatted, with succinct tables that make it quick and easy for readers to keep up with our Town government’s workings, including:

  • Votes of the Board of Selectmen, the School Board, the Planning Board, and the Zoning Board of Adjustment
  • Approved Road Agent work orders
  • Building permits issued
  • Which boards, committees, etc. met the previous month and which did not
  • Which meetings have filed meeting minutes and which have not

It is my belief that this succinct and formatted information will be of greater interest and will therefore disseminate more easily and to a larger segment of the town population.