Strasburg to host online forum for issues, questions

Strasburg officials plan to let the public talk about issues and ask questions about the town – this time via the Internet.

Strasburg Mayor Tim Taylor and Town Manager Judson Rex plan to hold a “virtual” public forum from 10-11 a.m. Wednesday. Through the Internet, smartphones and landline telephone service, residents and anyone else interested in asking questions, posing ideas and bringing up issues can do so in real time via a Web service.

Participants can join in on the discussions by speaking with their computer microphones and listening with the speakers. They also can watch the proceedings via the video service. People who want to participate but do not have access to a computer or smartphone can call in using a special telephone number. Rex compared this approach to a conference call.

“If you’re sitting at your desk and you want to call into the meeting, at least listen to what’s going on, you can do that,” Rex said Monday. “If you want to jump [on the] Internet and participate, there’s the option to do that as well.”

This marks the first time Strasburg has provided this kind of forum for people interested in participating in the local government.

“It’s definitely something new we want to try out and see if we can capture a different audience. Perhaps they can’t make it out to the meetings or, you know, have different work hours, that sort of thing,” Rex said.

Strasburg officials also extended the invitation to local students and teachers. An advanced placement government class at Strasburg High School plans to join in on the forum, Rex said.

This forum comes shortly after a similar meeting officials held at Town Hall, during which the public asked questions, raised local issues and posed ideas.

People interested in participating in “Ask the Mayor and Manager” on Wednesday can do so by visiting http://bit.do/askthemayor or remotely via smartphone by using the GoToMeeting application. Participants also can join in on the discussion, similar to a conference call, by calling 1-646-749-3112. Users will be prompted to enter the access code 662-938-365. A flyer on the town’s website, http://www.strasburgva.com also includes a QR code to scan to enter the forum.