Questions & Answers with Candidates for Apopka City Council Seat 3 – Week 7

Each week we will be asking the candidates the questions YOU’RE asking.

Week 6 Seat 3 Candidates Seat 4 Candidates

This Week’s Question: “Should the city begin live video streaming City Council and other meetings?”

Doug Bankson
Doug Bankson

Alice Nolan
Alice Nolan

Sam Ruth
Sam Ruth
Doug Bankson Alice Nolan Sam Ruth
Live stream is an extremely inexpensive way to make the public meetings accessible to anyone with a computer or smartphone. Because these meetings are public, making access available to all citizens falls in line with the pledge of transparency and gives equal access to all. This is a tremendous way for everyone to understand the workings of the city and the decisions made in context with the information presented and the public sentiment expressed in the meetings.

I have to laugh when I think back at my answer at the forum as I misunderstood the question at first and had visions of a public trial in my mind with broadcast cameras everywhere. Obviously this would be cost prohibitive. Once it clicked the question was live stream and not broadcast, the picture became clear and so did my answer: Yes.

There are two possible ways to accomplish live stream. First, it must be determined if video recording storage is required since there is already an audio recording accessible to all. Second is using online storage possibilities. You can use streaming services at a low monthly fee, or have a dedicated channel on YouTube at no cost whatsoever. I have asked if there are any prohibitive legal reasons, but have not been told otherwise. Once legalities are established, we could be set up with minimal time and at minimal expense, and create video access to all.

 

 

I think it is a great idea to begin live video streaming City Council Meetings and other meetings. Most citizens work, have kids and have other activities each night which makes it not really plausable to get to the meetings. While it is a great that we are recording the meetings and putting up on a later date, it would be nice to for the citizens to hear and see it live.

 

There were some concerns of the cost of live streaming. I looked into pricing of live streaming and found prices as low $49.00 a month. The cost can be very minimal and it is worth keeping our citizens informed on real time.

 

 

 

 

Transparency has been a key part of my advocacy on the city council. When I took office 22 months ago few compliance documents could easily be accessed by the citizens. Budget meetings were thin on details. Since that time significant effort has gone into rectifying these problems. Meetings are now recorded and posted on the website. A professional information officer shares information about city and community events via Twitter and Facebook. Detailed budget workshops have taken place and new staff has been hired to raise the quality of financial accounting.

Is this enough? Are we satisfied? Absolutely not.

The website still needs significant upgrades, particularly on the backend. Functionality is quite limited. City Hall would require significant upgrades to have the technical capability for live streaming. I believe all of this is important and must take place. The city will first need an assessment of these cost upgrades. These expenses could be presented during the coming year during the budget process. Citizens could review the proposals, council approve the budget and then we could move forward.

After all, City Hall belongs to the people and they always should have the right to know what is going on.

 

 

 

 

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