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Philmont village bars public from attending its meetings online

May 12, 2021 12:16 pm

Aliya Schneider reports for Columbia-Greene Media that even though the COVID-19 pandemic is over, and even though they have the technology the village of Philmont is refusing to continue to webcast their meetings and allow community members to monitor their actions from home. Mayor Brian Johnson, and trustees Douglas Cropper and Larry Ostrander all voted to limit public access to public meetings in the village of Philmont. Trustees Jason Detzel and Debra Gitterman voted for allowing the public to watch their meetings from afar. “It’s not needed,” Johnson said, even with the continuing risk of catching a deadly virus at one of their meetings. “It’s not required. It’s not needed.” Detzel disagreed. “That seems like the opposite of community,” Detzel said. “We’re taking something away from folks. We’re making it less accessible overall. And what was the reason? I’m sorry, what was the reason again? We don’t need it?” Gitterman agreed. “I personally think there is no reason to end Zoom meetings,” she said. “Just keep them going, it allows more people to participate and witness, experience, these meetings and it encourages participation, cohesiveness in our community, I believe.” In 2021, there is little or no cost to put local meetings on a webstream for citizens to see. The City of Hudson and the Town of Catskill, for instance, stream their meetings for free on the WGXC website. Read more about this story at HudsonValley360.com.