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The e-Vermont grant application approved in Moretown

Moretown may be getting a website. That was the upshot of a recent meeting of the Moretown Select Board.

Moretown Select Board members voted in support of an e-Vermont grant application that would provide technical consultants to create a new town website at their November 15 meeting. Safe Routes to School committee member Dara Torre was present to ask for town officials' support of the board for the broadband project that is also supported by the Moretown Planning Commission (PC).

Torre told select board members that the e-Vermont application requires no more than four letters of support; Moretown School Board chair Kaj Samsom wrote what Torre said was an "emphatic letter" in addition to letters from one local Moretown business owner and one from the Moretown library committee.

According to the application, the primary goals of the Moretown Project Connects Broadband Steering Committee is to build community with enhanced community dialogue using Front Porch Forum, foster small business innovation and success using Front Porch Forum, promote civic engagement with public communication upgrade to municipal and school websites, widen community dialogue by expanding public access to online resources at Moretown Memorial Library, provide training to a variety of internet users, resurrect "Moretown Matters" community newsletter in digital form, and improve sharing of town and school library resources via automation.

The e-Vermont grant funding provides towns with consultants to address potential technological upgrades; websites can be document-based so town employees are able to update content while the site would be controlled and backed up by a third party.

Torre said, "We can talk about what the options are and what kind of product would serve the town best. The nice thing is you present your vision for your town and they provide the way to get there."

If Moretown is awarded the grant, Torre said the town would get a better website, Front Porch Forum, and "I'm hoping the library could get laptops, because you have to have access to use these new tools; the school digital wish project would bring technology to the classroom," she said.

In addition, Torre said the school had expressed interest in updating their website and potentially tying into the town's new site.

Moretown Planning Commission chair Don LaRocca asked if the town would be responsible for incurring any expenses.

Torre said, "The only thing the town would be looking at is an ongoing third party charge for the website."

The e-Vermont Community Broadband Project is supported by a $2.5 million stimulus grant from the U.S. Department of Commerce with additional support from Vermont philanthropists, corporations and organizational partners (a full list can be found at www.e4vt.org).

If Moretown is selected, the Vermont Council on Rural Development will guide steering committee members through understanding e-Vermont goals and local needs, then help the town identify priority projects for the year of service provided by e-Vermont.

Torre said the application was "pretty easy to put together," and that the application process is "really fast"; she expects to hear about the status of the grant in December and, if selected, start working with the coordinated agencies in January.

Vermont and Minnesota were the only two states to receive the federal funding.

Select board member David Van Deusen made a motion to support the e-Vermont grant application and also serve as the overall project lead.

 


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