Jamaica temporarily shuts down website


JAMAICA -- In response to new Open Meeting Law requirements, the Selectboard decided to temporarily shut down its municipal website.

"All the committees had to post agendas 24 hours in advance and minutes five days after," said Jamaica Selectboard Chairwoman Lexa Clark.

The new requirements went into effect on July 1. Violations will be punishable starting next July.

The website jamaicavermont.org was taken offline on July 15, a day after the board voted to do so. If towns could not comply with the law, the Vermont League of Cities and Towns advised towns to take down or de-activate websites.

According to the law, a person who knowingly and intentionally violates the Open Meeting Law may be guilty of a misdemeanor, punishable with a fine up to $500. That applies to every Selectboard, council, board of trustees, municipal commission, committee and subcommittee.

The Jamaica Selectboard worried mostly about committees not having up-to-date on the website. There are concerns around the state that by July 2015, penalties could include fines or votes could be ruled invalid.

Clark said that the board heard legislature may revisit the law in January 2015. In published reports, Gov. Peter Shumlin has mentioned that he has concerns regarding the law.

As required by law, agendas for meetings in Jamaica are posted 48 hours in advance at the Town Offices, Post Office and D&K Store. Minutes from meetings are available at the Town Offices.

Currently, there are negotiations involving the installation of a new water system at Town Hall. The water there is unpotable. The Selectboard expects to have more information regarding Town Hall by its next meeting on July 28.

"Hopefully, we'll have a good solid answer for that," said Clark.

Chris Mays can be reached at 802-254-2311, ext. 273, or cmays@reformer.com. Follow Chris on Twitter @CMaysReformer.


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