Reynoldsburg council meetings could soon be live streamed


By Christine Bryant
Staff Writer

The city of Reynoldsburg is working toward providing greater accessibility to its council meetings.

City officials are looking at the possibility of recording council meetings through video – either live streaming a meeting or recording it and making it accessible for the community to review later.

Councilman Barth Cotner said by looking at options, city officials are opening up the possibilities of more interaction with residents.

“We love to see the faces that are here, but it would be awful nice to see a lot more,” he said at the council’s Oct. 9 finance committee meeting. “My thought is, with the potentials of videoing, at least we share as much as we can and open up the possibilities for more interaction and connectivity with the community.”

Currently, the government’s software program, Accela, has a tie-in called “Civic Streaming” that would allow council and other government bodies to video their meetings, said April Beggerow, clerk of council. The software also would allow her to timestamp certain segments, allowing for easier review.

To use the added feature, the city would have to pay an additional fee of $8,000 per year, which includes any costs associated with adding Accela’s hardware, Beggerow said.

Another option would be through the use of podcasts, which the Reynoldsburg Schools Board of Education uses to share its meetings that often are held at city hall. These audio recordings are available on the district’s website and are done in-house with the district’s own software, said school board member Debbie Dunlap, who attended the council meeting.

Councilman Marshall Spalding said while he is in favor of offering community members another way to view or hear their representatives at work, he is cautious about the cost.

“I think it makes a lot of sense. In particular, if it’s something simple to do like what the school board does, again, makes a lot of sense,” he said. “If it’s costly, I’m not sure it would make as much sense.”

Council President Doug Joseph suggested polling other communities, such as Bexley and Westerville that record their meetings or use a live feed, to determine whether the service is used.

“I don’t think being live is as critical as being able to see the feed, but I think if somehow we could determine what kind of viewership there is could influence whether it’s worth the money to do something like that, because obviously people have busy schedules and if they could watch it at their leisure, they might be more inclined to do it than coming down here every other Monday when they have a thousand other things to do,” he said.

The discussion will continue during the next finance committee meeting.

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