All official meetings to appear on cable
By KATHY SAUNDERS
© St. Petersburg Times, published April 4, 2001
TREASURE ISLAND -- Responding to a petition from 485 residents, commissioners agreed last week 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 March 27, 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." 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 rebroadcast overnight Tuesdays and Thursdays. Other board meetings, such as those of the planning and zoning board, will air on Monday and Wednesday nights.
On weekends, the city plans to continue broadcasting a scroll with the agendas for the upcoming commission meetings.
Former Commissioner George Makrauer and his wife Taaron last week donated a $200 combination television/video cassette recorder and headphones so that residents could view tapes of the meetings. For the time being, the tapes will be available for viewing in the mayor's office.
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