Seymour residents soon may be able to attend public meetings at city hall without leaving the comfort of their own homes.
City Councilmen Matt Nicholson and Shawn Malone recently proposed the city purchase a video camera to install in council chambers to allow all meetings, including city council, board of works and safety, plan commission, board of zoning appeals, redevelopment commission and others, to be streamed live on the city’s Facebook page and be archived on the city’s website.
Malone said he believes citizens are interested in what’s going on in the community but don’t necessarily feel comfortable going to meetings or may not be able to attend.
By “going live,” with 360-degree, high-definition viewing capability, city government would be more transparent and accessible to more people, Malone said.
To pay for the camera and software, Malone suggested the council use the 2.5 percent pay increase that was budgeted for 2017 that the council voted not to take in November at Nicholson’s recommendation.
Since the budget was adopted before the salary ordinance, the money remains unappropriated.
The price of the camera is around $500, Malone said.
“By the time we put in the IT work involved, we’d still be under about $1,000,” he said.
Mayor Craig Luedeman said he would look into prices for the equipment and installing it and would bring it back before the council at the Feb. 13 meeting for further discussion and a vote.
Malone said he doesn’t think a lot of cities offer the capability for residents to watch meetings live from their computers or smartphones.
“It’s not something we’re seeing everywhere else,” he said. “But just having that access for members of our community to be able to see what’s going on here if they can’t be here, I think that would be helpful.”
Putting the recorded videos online would allow anyone the opportunity to revisit an issue that had been discussed at a previous meeting.
“We have a lot of people that are second-shift, third-shift workers who want to hear about what we’re doing, they just can’t necessarily be here,” Malone said. “So if they could click on it later, hear about how their council voted on things, maybe they would get more involved.”