Although no decision has been made yet, commissioners say it is the next logical step in having ultimate transparency in local government. The video recording would allow those who cannot attend the meeting watch from home.
Currently the commission places audio recordings of its meetings, along with minutes and agendas, on its website at SanfordFL.gov. But as technology advances – and with the unveiling of the city’s new website design – city officials are now looking for the newest ways to reach their constituents.
Commissioner Mark McCarty said, “I think it’s the future way to connect electronically that’s going to move us to the future with communicating.”
The commission reviewed two cost quotes from Xerox Audio Visual Solutions during Monday’s work session. The first, which came in at a little more than $4,000, would bring the commission to a point where they could record meetings and place them online. However, this would not allow for streaming of the meetings where web-goers could watch the meetings live online.
The second quote – which was slightly under $25,000 – added video cameras for multiple angles, a streaming card to allow for live-viewing online and upgraded equipment the commission chambers already has in place.
Additionally the company issued a quote with a $200 minimum per meeting to run the equipment and post the videos online.
While commissioners were excited about the prospect – the price seemed too high in tight budget times.
Commissioner Patty Mahany said, “I thought this was something we could do in house with our own IT Department. I didn’t realize we were talking about contracting out upwards of $24,000 - $25,000.”
Mayor Jeff Triplett said the project was not on his “priority list” at the current quoted cost. Others agreed and wondered if a cheaper option was available.
Commissioners also discussed trying to partner with Crooms Academy of Information Technology or other schools to bring students in to operate the equipment and ultimately save on cost.
Commissioners asked that a new proposal, with one camera, streaming equipment and service for one year be brought back. If put in place, they’d also like to track the program to see how many people are watching online in order to verify whether the costs are justified.