They will be in separate locations, but Atlantic County freeholders will come together electronically for the first time Tuesday at 4 p.m. for a public meeting that can be accessed over the internet.
"Pursuant to the Open Public Meetings Act 10:4-6, et seq., the meetings will remain open to the public with opportunities for public questions and comments via live streaming," a county notice stated. "Instructions for live streaming access will be posted on the Freeholder’s page on the Atlantic County website."
It will allow freeholder board members and staff to avoid personal contact while keeping government active during the COVID-19 crisis, Freeholder Chairman Frank Formica has said.
On the agenda is a public hearing on the county's $219.5 million budget.
Last Tuesday the freeholders came together physically for their meeting, but the public was asked to stay away and instead participate via a live-stream.
Last week the governor signed a bill (A-3852/S-2296) into law to allow public bodies to provide notice of, and conduct meetings and public business, by electronic means during a state of emergency, public health emergency or disaster emergency. That would allow Trenton lawmakers to vote electronically without being in the State House.
The new law also requires that public bodies restrict the business they conduct electronically be limited to matters necessary for the continuing operation of government.
Formica said the trial run went so smoothly, other counties and municipalities have contacted the board for advice on how to do the same.
“We’ve been very lucky to have such a proactive IT department,” Formica said.