Arlington Heights to live stream board meetings
Jan 09, 2013 (Chicago Tribune - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) --
Arlington Heights village officials recently approved electronic access to board meetings and digital information packets, but some trustees said the village should not buy iPads for board members to access the files during meetings.
Starting this spring, an electronic file of each meeting will be available on the village website with links to specific agenda items and supporting documents. Video of the meeting also will be streamed live online. The footage will then be broken down by agenda item, making it easier to find information without watching through the hours-long meetings, village officials said. Board meetings will also continue to be broadcasted on cable television.
The village board approved the $14,500 proposal at Monday night's meeting, which will allow the public to watch village board meetings live on the web and download memos to follow along. The proposal is a $12,000 annual contract with Florida-based NovusAGENDA, plus a video encoder at a one-time cost of $2,500.
Although board members lauded the proposal for increasing transparency and being environmentally friendly, some trustees took issue with the idea of taxpayer-funded iPads for elected officials.
"It would only be seen as a perk," said Trustee John Scaletta.
The proposal calls for up to 20 iPads or tablet devices for board members and department directors to use at meetings. Funds for all costs of the proposal are available in the IT budget, according to officials who said the village is likely to buy about 12 tablets, 10 of which would be for staff. The other two would be kept as extras for meeting use, including by the board.
No amendments to the proposal were made but the trustees' opposition to buying the iPads was noted and will be addressed, said Village Clerk Becky Hume.
Mayoral candidate Ron Drake, who attended the meeting, said he would be concerned about elected officials mixing city business with their private lives if they used a personal device for the public's work.
The switch to web-based access to meetings is expected to save the village money and time. It's estimated the cost of printing one page for a board meeting is about 5 cents, according to Assistant Village Attorney Robin Ward, and the proposal will save at least $10,000 in paper costs.
The new system is also expected to save village staffers from having to assemble paper packets. The staff now creates about 20 information packets -- which are given to board members and the press -- for each twice-a-month meeting. That time will be allocated to other village business, said Village Manager Bill Dixon.
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