Next week the City Council is scheduled to discuss posting video recordings of council meetings online, giving residents a convenient way to connect with their local government. Putting video of the council meetings the city’s Web site has been discussed for years – most recently the matter was debated in Facebook forums last fall – and now the council is ready to explore its options.
“The concerns last year were live broadcasts and costs,” Oakley Mayor Kevin Romick wrote in an e-mail. “Initially we envisioned upgrading our current system to a system that would have provided live streaming video at a cost of between $40,000 and $50,000 with an annual maintenance cost of about $4,000, for what we determined would be a very limited audience. I think those two issues have been eliminated.”
To save money, the council will look at using a digital video recorder to load files to the video-sharing website www.vimeo.com. Romick said this method would cost about $200 annually to operate. The video would be posted on Wednesdays, a day after regularly scheduled meetings.
Residents have been buzzing about the potential posting of video coverage online after the city tested some practice videos to vimeo.com last month. Once a group of residents found the videos, the city password protected the files until the recording process is improved.
Oakley resident Mike Burkholder believes online council meeting coverage is overdue. “Video is nice to have, but the audio could have been posted all along at very little cost and effort to the City,” Burkholder wrote in his blog. “I guess sometimes things like this simply have to be more difficult than they need to be. At least Oakley residents, and the world, can soon be able to watch recordings at one’s own leisure in the near future rather than showing up to a meeting.”
Video and audio recordings of council meetings have been available to the public on request, but the new method would give Oakleyites convenient access to council discussions. Resident Paul Seger has been posting his own videos of council meetings online to www.archive.org since 2008, but the city-created videos will be linked through the city website, www.oakleyinfo.com.
Oakley’s effort to connect with residents digitally started two years ago when the city launched a Facebook page (City of Oakley) and a Twitter account (@CityofOakley).