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Edgerton city council meetings to be on video

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NEIL W. JOHNSON
October 5, 2010
— Okay, so a city discussion on sewer rates probably isn't as intriguing as an episode of "Desperate Housewives," but Edgerton residents soon will have the option to watch both.

Along with a new City Hall set to open this month, Edgerton is launching a new service late this year or early in 2011: City council meetings will be recorded and rebroadcast on cable television and via the Internet.


The city council last month approved spending $2,500 to pay for software and video equipment at the new City Hall to make the magic happen.


It's the first time that Edgerton City Council meetings will be broadcast and put online. The plan came at the request of some city council members, and it's being rolled in with technology work at the new City Hall, officials said.


The city is partnering with the Edgerton School District in the plan. The district is providing technical support and sharing startup costs. The city's costs could be covered by money from an auction this month of surplus items at the old City Hall.


City council meetings won't be broadcast or streamed live, at least not yet, City Administrator Ramona Flanigan said. The plan is to film city sessions and then put them on Charter channel 98 and on the city and school district websites at later dates, said Kurt Muchow, Technology Education Instructor at Edgerton High School.


Officials haven't decided whether city committee meetings will be recorded. But under the city's plan, regular city council meetings would be, Mayor Chris Lund said.


Lund said the service gives people another level of open government. For instance, he said, it would have been nice to have the ability to broadcast public meetings when the city was dealing with its K-9 program controversy in May.


"It would have gotten some people some of the information that they maybe didn't have if it all had been broadcast or streamed out there. People would understand what discussions had taken place," Lund said.


Lund said council members are used to audio recordings at council meetings, but he said video recording takes things to a new level.


"I've already got my makeup artist hired," he said, laughing.


Reflecting on the city's plans to record council sessions, Alderman Mark Wellnitz asked council members during a recent meeting to bone up on Robert's Rules of Order.


Lund said that's not a bad idea.


"I hope that everyone, city council and residents, realizes it (video broadcast) is there and that we should carry on the meetings in a respectable manner," he said.


Will the addition of a video camera to city meetings be a game changer for the flow of city business and (ahem) manners at City Hall?


"We'll have to see how it all plays out," Flanigan said.



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