Opinion: Hillsborough needs virtual meetings again

It’s hard to find anything positive in the nightmare of COVID-19, but many folks would agree that virtual access to government meetings, at all levels, is a good thing.

After all, in a participatory democracy, the more participation, the better. But that’s not the case in Hillsborough.

At the May 25 Township Committee meeting, a “consent” was passed that eliminated virtual access to all future proceedings. At subsequent meetings, a number of Hillsborough residents spoke against this change. Folks who had physical disabilities, non-standard work hours or childcare issues, all asked that virtual access be reinstated. Their requests were ignored.

I’m not sure if there is some upside to cancelling virtual access – maybe costs – maybe technical issues?  But there is surely a downside if transparency in government is your goal.

Why bring this up now? Because the COVID variant is having its way. Cases are up, hospitalizations are up, and it was just announced that students and school staff will be required to mask in September.

COVID is not over, but the Hillsborough Township Committee is acting like it is. Let’s bring back the one good thing we began in the last 18 months and restore virtual access to all Hillsborough Township meetings.

Tom Bisagni