WILMINGTON, MA — At its most recent meeting, the Wilmington Board of Selectmen held a discussion, outlining some of the ways in which the town is engaging residents via electronic communications.
“Communication is key and a lot of residents are taking to the digital world to get their information,” said Selectman Greg Bendel, who led the discussion.
Bendel praised the town for its user-friendly website, use of social media, email alert subscriptions, and its Everbridge emergency alert notifications.
“I applaud the town for investing in a new website two or so years ago. It’s fantastic and easy to use,” said Bendel. “The town has also done an increasingly better job with their social media, putting out news alerts via Twitter. And you don’t even have to have a Twitter account to see what the town is tweeting because the tweets are also displayed on the town’s website.”
“Residents can subscribe to different email lists based on their interests, from alerts sent out by the Recreation Department to alerts each time a Board of Selectmen agenda is posted,” noted Bendel. “Residents can also sign up for emergency alerts for their home phone or cell phone.”
“I really home residents are already taking advantage of all these things,” said Bendel, who also complimented Wilmington Community Television, the Wilmington Town Crier, the Wilmington Advocate, and the Wilmington Apple for helping the town get information out to the public.
“I know we can make improvements, but I’m pleased to say many town departments are really on top of [electronic communication with residents],” said Town Manager Jeff Hull.
Hull pointed out that residents can pay their property taxes, motor vehicle excise taxes, water bills, and dog license payments online. The Recreation Department, Library, and Police Department are all heavy users of social media as a communication tool, while the Fire Chief uses Twitter to get information out about fire safety issues.
“When there’s a need to send out a large communication to particular area of town, that can be done through our Everbridge Emergency Alert system,” said Hull. “It’s often used, for example, if the DPW is doing road construction in a particular area of town. Residents in the area will be notified.”
Selectman Greg Bendel encouraged the town to take a page out of the Town of Burlington’s playbook and offer more community surveys on its website.
“Community surveys are a nice way to get feedback from residents on a particular issue,” said Bendel, pointing to the success of the town’s recent facility needs survey.
Bendel was also supportive of the town’s cautious approach to joining Facebook, noting Tewksbury Town Hall is the only neighboring community with an official Facebook presence.
“I look forward to an increase in the amount of information sent out via social media in the future,” added Bendel. “But I’m not sure I’m ready to advocate for Facebook. That takes a lot of time and I’m not sure the town should get into the business of monitoring Facebook.”
“I think it was worthwhile to have this discussion,” concluded Selectman Mike Champoux, saying town officials shouldn’t assume that all residents know about all of these communication tools at their disposal. “We have new folks moving into town everyday.”
Residents can sign up for both the emergency phone & text alerts and non-emergency email alerts HERE.
Residents can pay tax bills and fees to the town HERE.
Some of the town’s pertinent social media accounts can be found below:
Like Wilmington Apple on Facebook. Follow Wilmington Apple on Twitter. Follow Wilmington Apple on Instagram. Subscribe to Wilmington Apple’s daily email newsletter HERE. Got a comment, question, photo, press release, or news tip? Email firstname.lastname@example.org.