Council to be on the Web

Friday, April 23, 2010

Digital video recordings of Lewisburg City Council meetings are to start May 11 because of a vote last week by the Council that's to be displayed on the city's Internet Web site.

"Do we get make-up people?" Mayor Barbara Woods asked playfully as she started discussion on the subject raised by Councilman Ronald McRady who explained why he brought it up.

"I've had a lot of requests from people who want to attend Council meetings but can't," McRady said.

Televising meetings on cable TV or the local television station were options he mentioned during discussion at the April 13 meeting, but without the availability of a cameraman, other ideas seemed more practical.

McRady turned to Greg Lowe, the city codes enforcement officer whose duties have grown to include economic development and publicity for the town over the Internet.

"He came out with all this terminology," McRady said of electronic phraseology more familiar to grandchildren than grandparents, so he got to the point. "Great," McRady said, paraphrasing his conversation with Lowe. "'What can you do?'" he asked Lowe.

McRady said Lowe mentioned City Manager Eddie Fuller, who later explained he has a video camera and a tripod that he's willing to use for the first several months of the recordings. He plans to use digital recording tape that would be converted to a computer file on a server at TNWEB LLC on West Commerce Street just up hill from the public square.

TNWEB has the city contract to host Lewisburg's Web site. The additional service was priced at $50 a month. Web-casting Council meetings was seen as better than televising meetings on cable TV because there's more than one cable company and many residents may get TV shows from a satellite. Furthermore, those without Internet service at home could get on-line at the public library, and the recording would be available at any time instead of being placed on a TV schedule.

"This is a step forward," McRady said before he seconded Councilman Quinn Stewart's motion to proceed with video recording meetings and making them available to the public.

With a few more technical explanations on how the recording would be made available on the Internet, Stewart said, "I don't see why the city manager couldn't set it up."

Fuller records meetings on audiotape. The cassette recorder is next to where he sits at the meeting table on Stewart's left side.

"Charter Cable does Columbia's" council meetings, Councilman Robin Minor said, but he was reminded that in Lewisburg, not everybody has cable TV through Charter.

"I think the public would feel better if they could see what we're doing," Stewart said.

A unanimous vote followed her remark and the Council turned to another subject.