The system allows all your departments to work together on a single system for drafting, submitting and searching meeting topics and documents. No matter how your departments are organized you will all be able to work in a consistent manner.
Whenever you start a new meeting topic within MinuteTraq you have the option to start from a template. When you use a template, MinuteTraq will automatically fill in the fields of the meeting topics with standard boiler-plate text and “ fill in the blanks.” With templates those repetitious items and forms will never bother you again.
When you create a template in MinuteTraq, you have the ability to make the template global or departmental.
MinuteTraq tracks several fields of information on a meeting document including: name, title, status, meeting, department, sponsors, initiator, preparer, category, project, function and more. All of these fields are searchable and some can be used to search and prepare indexes by the meeting organizers.
Financial Impact Statement
The meeting topics have an integrated financial impact section to allow anyone submitting a topic to describe the impact that it has on the budget. Also, if the document affects the budget, the user has the ability to indicate budget accounts, amounts, date they will be affected and a memo for each budget line. Budget transfers are even accommodated by allowing the preparer to add multiple lines with positive and negative amounts.
The built-in editor supports all types of formatting, fonts, italics, bolding, strikethrough and more. It also has a built-in spell checker that underlines the words and provides suggestions like Microsoft Word does.
Microsoft Word Integration
Although our editor is quite advanced, MinuteTraq provides a single-click method to open your documents in Microsoft Word. Preparers can edit the body of the meeting topics and documents with Word, and then simply by closing the document the MinuteTraq fields are instantly updated.
MinuteTraq allows you to link meeting topics and documents together for the purpose of amending, rescinding or replacing older documents that were already adopted. When the newer topic is adopted, the status of the older (linked) topic will automatically change to Amended, Rescinded or Replaced. Further, you can easily trace the links by using the history screen to jump from original to amending topic.
The system also allow you to attach, link or reference other documents that are related or provide supporting information. For example, you can link to legal documents, blueprints, web sites, scanned documents or any web-based document systems. With the referenced documents section anyone who opens your meeting topic can see what supporting documents you were looking at.
Another great feature of MinuteTraq is that it allows users that prepare a meeting topic to attach recipients and indicate that they should receive a letter after the meeting occurs. This feature gives you the ability to update citizens, department heads, businesses, organizations and other people after it is voted on.
When a user goes to submit a meeting topic, MinuteTraq checks the forms for missing or invalid information. You can setup parameters for your agency and meetings to require certain fields when a document is submitted. One example is that MinuteTraq allows you to set a topic due date for a meeting. If the due date has passed, MinuteTraq will warn or prevent a user from submitting new topics for that meeting.
Before a topic is added to a meeting’s agenda, MinuteTraq allows your agency to put the topic through a collaboration phase whereby the sponsoring board members or specific departments can comment and sign-off or reject the item. The collaboration phase uses the category and other fields to automatically determine which users or groups needs to sign-off.
Auditing & Revisions
After a topic has been submitted the audit features will track any changes made to the documents and information. When a user tries to save changes, MinuteTraq will prompt the user for a reason code and comment describing the changes. There are also options to automatically send emails to users involved with the meeting topic, increment a revision number and restart the collaboration phase by resetting the sign-offs already given.
Before a meeting topic becomes public information (draft and collaboration phases) MinuteTraq has a strict security policy in place whereby the only users that can open the documents are the ones that need to. During the draft phase only your department can view the information; during the collaboration phase, only users on from the collaborating departments and board members can view it.
Every meeting topic and document has a history screen where all the audit information, comments, linked items, meetings, statistics and other information can be viewed. The history screen is easily accessed through the toolbar and right-click menus throughout the software.
The Agenda Wizard has an auto-fill feature that automatically outlines your agenda for you using submitted meeting topics like resolutions, public hearings, communications and minutes to be accepted. The outline allows you to drag-and-drop agenda items, create sections and sub-sections, sort items and more.
With default outlines you will have even greater control over the one-click outline process. You will be able to create different outlines and use the appropriate one for the one-click outline.
The agenda wizard will automatically number documents and remember the last number you used. The wizard also allows you to manually set numbers or change the order within the outline without changing the numbers that were assigned. With MinuteTraq you can be sure that the document numbers are not duplicated but you have the control you need.
Generate Word Documents
After the one-click outline you can generate both a full and public version of the agenda in Microsoft Word format. MinuteTraq uses templates to determine layout and formatting of your agenda. This means that you can change the look and feel of the Agenda that MinuteTraq produces to suit your agency.
Draft & Finalized Agenda
Often agendas are tentative and have items being added at the last minute. The Agenda Wizard now has the ability to finalize an agenda when it is finished. This means that the first agenda that is produced can be marked as “Draft” and when you are ready to finalize the agenda MinuteTraq can regenerate the document with the latest changes and then lock it if you prefer.
Often it is the job of the Clerk to print and distribute the agenda to board members and attendees. With MinuteTraq the clerk no longer has to do this because the latest agenda is always kept within the software so anyone can open and print their own copy simply by using the meeting list or online calendar. In the next version, you will also be able to email the agenda to a distribution list.
Import Agenda Outline
When you start the Minutes Maker, the first thing you do is import the agenda outline. From the Minutes Maker outline, you get virtually all of the same functionality you had in the Agenda Wizard and more. For instance, you can create walk-ons, add statements and motions as well as sort, drag-and-drop items in the outline and more.
Votes, Comments & Roll-Call
Using the Minutes Maker outline, when you click on any item from the agenda you can see the details for that item. For any item in the outline you can record comments, discussions (including public portions) and vote record if a vote was taken. Vote records include the result, initiator, seconder and individual votes of the board members.
Reduce Data Entry
The Minutes Maker does its best to keep your work to a minimum. For example, there is a Unanimous Vote link, absent board members are automatically marked absent in the vote records, public hearings and legal notices are automatically created from special topics that were adopted and more.
The Minutes Maker will continuously check for errors while you work on the minutes and color code the items if there are any errors or missing information. This means that you don’t have to worry about missing a vote or forgetting something because MinuteTraq won’t let you finalize the minutes until all the warnings and errors are resolved.
Generate Word Document
At any point you can generate the Minutes document in Microsoft Word. The minutes document is template driven so you can modify the formatting and layout simply by modifying the Word templates. When you generate the minutes any votes or comments are added to the generated document.
The Minutes Maker has a chronological view and a transcribing mode. The chronological view gives you an alternate outline where you can sort the items in the actual order that they occurred during the meeting. When using the transcribing mode, MinuteTraq will automatically timestamp the items as they occur. These timestamps can be used later for indexing audio.
MinuteTraq allows you to setup special categories that will automatically create public hearings and legal notices. When one of these topics is adopted the Minutes Maker will automatically copy the body and title as the legal notice and provide you with the option to crop out or remove any text that shouldn’t be displayed in the notice. Once the legal notice is ready you can simply change the status to ready and the notice will automatically be included in the letter factory.
Audio & Video Tracking
MediaTraq will now allow you to track your audio and video recordings along with the minutes. You can create a description, assign reference numbers, indicate starting times and more all while linking them to the meeting. To add even more detail, MinuteTraq will allow you to index or link items on the minutes to time-indexes within the audio or video. Imagine looking up a document or meeting topic and knowing exactly what tape and time index on the tape that the topic was discussed.
Letters & Legal Notices
The Letter Factory will organize all of your meeting documents and legal notices for a single meeting and automatically generate custom letters for recipients and print or email them.
Recipients & Distribution Lists
MinuteTraq gives your agency the ability to maintain a global and departmental list of recipients and distribution lists for the purpose of sending letters and legal notices. Every recipient can indicate if they prefer receiving letters through email, printed copies or both. The same recipient list used by the Letter Factory can be used by the Recipient Linking when topics are submitted.
MinuteTraq allows you to link distribution lists to categories, legal notice types and more as well as having special distribution lists like the “All Documents” distribution list. When the Letter Factory is first opened you can click the “Create All Missing Letters” button and instantly MinuteTraq will automatically queue letters using these linked distribution lists. Of course, you still have the ability to manually add letters by adding recipients to a meeting topic or a meeting topic to a recipient.
Sometimes you need to know if someone received their letter, for example, when you send a legal notice to a newspaper. The Letter Factory allows you to include a sign-off sheet for any letter and will automatically insert the sign-off sheet at the beginning of the letter. The sign-off sheet has a signature line for the recipient to sign and return to you.
Generate Custom Letters
When you are ready to generate your letters you can manually check the ones you want to generate or select all of them. After the Letter Factory is done generating the letters you can view them, edit them or regenerate them. When they are ready they can be emailed, printed or both and MinuteTraq will keep track of the date and time that they were actually sent.
Confirmations (Next Version)
To take tracking your letters and legal notices another step further, you can use the confirmation screen to mark letters as “Confirmed” when you receive a returned sign-off sheet or verify the letter was received over the phone. The legal notices go even another step further by allowing you to confirm that they were published correctly by the papers.
Real Time Data
Because MinuteTraq is a hosted service, during the entire time you are using the software, citizens can log on to your website or TownClerk.com and get real-time data. To accomplish this you don’t have to do anything because MinuteTraq is always updating the website and you don’t have to worry about it.
Tracking & Usage
Have you ever wondered how many people have opened your meeting topic or public hearing? Or if they are in-favor or opposed to the legislation? With TownClerk.com you will find out because anytime a meeting topic is accessed over the site we keep a log so you can find out how many times a meeting topic has been opened.
Open API via XML Web Services
Because our entire model uses .NET Web Services, your webmaster or other third-party websites could request all the public information that is available.
Another way of providing your minutes to a third-party website is by using our Web Upload Wizard which will package all the minutes, documents and data for a meeting and email to your webmaster. From this they can use the XML datasets and documents to build their own searches, lists and other website functions.
MinuteTraq allows you to track all your public hearings with the software. Besides automatically creating them from special meeting topics, you can manually schedule public hearings to appear on a meetings agenda. If a public hearing is adjourned from one meeting to another, MinuteTraq will maintain all the history.
MinuteTraq also allows you to receive and track communications, reports, bid openings and other documents. When entering a communication you can indicate the date and time it was received, meeting to announce it, subject, details and even upload a scanned document or file. When preparing an agenda, the auto-fill will automatically add the communication to the outline.
News & Events
Now your calendar within MinuteTraq and TownClerk.com can have more than just meetings. You can announce events and other things so the public and your organization can find out about them.
Polls (Future Version)
Sometimes it is hard to judge what citizens are thinking, but now MinuteTraq allows you to schedule polls that will automatically show on the TownClerk.com website. The polls will allow you to get opinions and comments from eCitizens to help you better judge.
Define Custom Records
Sometimes you can’t include everything with software. With MinuteTraq you can create custom record types with user definable fields for text, dates, numbers and dropdowns. Users can add records, include a file to upload and even perform searches.
No one wants to lose their old data. With the custom documents you can import your old minutes, meeting topics and related documents into MinuteTraq and then search them. Hard to believe… just ask one of our customers who imported over 13 years of their meeting topics and minutes and now can search all of it.
All of the user-definable fields are searchable as well as the body of the documents. Text searches, date ranges, numeric ranges, dropdowns are all searchable.
The Minutes Index Wizard is a tool that allows you to create a set of indexes for your master minutes book. You can generate these indexes anytime you want and for any date range. The indexes include: Documents by Sponsor, by Category, by Number and Meetings by Date. Each index includes all of the meetings and page numbers from each minutes document where they can be found.
The Archive Wizard will allow you to download all of your minutes, agendas, meeting topics and related documents for any date range and then creates a set of HTML indexes for all your documents and data. These files and indexes are copied to a local folder and you have the ability to burn them to a CD. Imagine how easy this could make FOIL requests. At the very least you can have the peace of mind that all your data and documents are in a single place in a standard format that you can use.
Because MinuteTraq is a service all of the computers that use MinuteTraq are automatically updated with new features, enhancements and fixes. When you first connect to your agency, MinuteTraq will check if there is a newer version of the software and prompt you to download and install it. With automatic updates you are always current.
No Servers Necessary
We make it easy for you to get started because there is no equipment or servers to buy. Once you sign up you simply connect to our servers and you are instantly up and running without any up front cost.
Work from Any Location
Because we host your data and we use the internet to access your data, you can be anywhere in the world and still participate just like you would if you were in the office. You can work from home, separate buildings or from an airport terminal... it doesn't matter where you are.
MinuteTraq uses the same 128-bit SSL encryption that banks use. All of your data is secure and safe.
We backup your data nightly so you don't have to worry about it.