All official meetings to appear on cable TV
By KATHY SAUNDERS
© St. Petersburg Times, published April 1, 2001
TREASURE ISLAND -- Responding to a petition from 485 residents, commissioners agreed Tuesday that all official meetings held in City Hall Auditorium will be shown on cable television.
With the help of volunteers, the city began broadcasting commission meetings and workshops in February. But City Manager Chuck Coward said he didn't want to extend the broadcasts to other meetings until he had time to train volunteers to produce the programs and to purchase new microphones and other equipment to improve the sound.
On Tuesday, however, Coward said he could begin immediately broadcasting all meetings on Time Warner's public access Channel 15.
If volunteers are unavailable to produce the meetings, Coward said he could turn on microphones and one stationary camera in the rear of the auditorium. Commissioners responded by passing a resolution to broadcast all meetings of elected or appointed boards that meet in the auditorium.
"This is great because it levels the playing field, and everyone has the same information at the same time," said Jim Dobyns, who led the cablevision campaign. "People will just be a lot more up to speed on issues, and they also won't have to hear things through the rumor mill."
The broadcasts are scheduled to air live and be replayed throughout the week.
The commission's regularly scheduled workshops on Tuesday afternoons and evenings will be re-broadcast overnight Tuesdays and Thursdays. Other board meetings, such as those of the planning and zoning board as well as special workshops, will be rebroadcast on Monday and Wednesday nights.
On weekends, the city plans to continue broadcasting a scroll with the agendas for the upcoming commission meetings.
Deputy City Clerk Bonnie Williams is the coordinator of the volunteers who were appointed by commissioners and the mayor. The volunteers can attend informal training sessions each week.
Former Commissioner George Makrauer on Wednesday donated a $200 combination television/video cassette recorder and headphones so that residents could view the tapes of the meetings. He also has ordered a tape duplicator that should arrive in 10 to 12 days.
For the time being, the tapes will be available for viewing in the mayor's office.
This week's schedule includes a meeting of the Beautification Committee on Tuesday at 9 a.m. and the City Commission workshop at 7 p.m. Tuesday.
Coming soon: televised meetings
Official meetings at the Treasure Island City Hall will be broadcast on the public access channel.
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