UPPER PROVIDENCE >> The township supervisors unanimously approved spending $83,707 for a comprehensive two-phase equipment, installation, website rental, and training solution so the township can record open meetings as video images for public viewing.
During the March 3 supervisor meeting, township Information Technology Director Norman Wallace had presented Kimberton’s Applied Video Technology proposal to upgrade the recording and display equipment inside the Township Hall.
Initially, open meeting recorded video files could be accessible through the vendor’s website. At a future date, after purchasing additional equipment, meeting videos could be available to subscribers of local telecommunication service providers through dedicated Public, Education and Government access channels.
Two weeks later, the board voted to approve the expenditures for both the website and public access channels phase options.
As part of the phase one $64,000 payment, subsidized by Comcast and Verizon 2006 franchise agreements grants, three permanent wall-mounted robotic cameras and two wall-mounted seventy-inch high-definition flat panel screens will be installed in the main Township Hall meeting room. Wireless microphones will be used. A portable control station will be setup in the building foyer between the main doorway and the window wall partition prior to meeting start times. Also covered is a one-year rental of the vendor website where video files will be stored for public access.
The board voted to combine the additional $19,707 phase two expenses within the same motion so no additional resolution will be needed to launch the PEG option later. Upon Wallace’s recommendation, the board agreed no phase two equipment purchases will be made until needed because warranty clocks will start at time of delivery. The second phase will swap website viewing with limited access channels on the Comcast and Verizon networks.
Township Manager George Waterman reported written requests for township dedication channels have been submitted to Comcast and Verizon.
Wallace confirmed Applied Video Technology is “nearly the sole source” for the proposed solution and the vendor has amended the contractual terms to include township copyright verbiage Solicitor Edward Skypala requested earlier in the month.
In related news, the supervisors approved a resolution establishing the policy governing recording open township meetings and events by the township and members of the public.
Future township-issued agendas will include notice that meetings are being recorded for rebroadcast and archival purposes. Videos will remain the sole property of the township and will only be edited to add supporting text and graphics or to remove profanity. Minutes will be the official meeting record.
In addition, members of the public can record open meetings using silent battery-operated equipment, without supplemental lighting, setup in the rear of the room at least 10 minutes before a meeting’s published start time. The recording equipment cannot be removed or dissembled except during breaks longer than five minutes or after meeting adjournment.
Each person is limited to operating only one recording and one stationary still camera that cannot disrupt the meeting or block audience views. All recording equipment must be monitored and controlled without narration, unless the operator moves to the front of the room to make a public comment.
The chairperson may relax policy guidelines during ceremonial proceedings and may directed operators to cease recording immediately or be brought into regulatory compliance.