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Island County Commissioners put selves on Internet

They haven’t gone viral, at least not yet, but the Island County commissioners are now on the Internet.

The county commissioners are video recording their regular Monday meetings and have made the videos simple for the public to watch on their website at www.islandcounty.net/commissioners/video.

The new service begins just in time for county budget meetings, which start Tuesday, Aug. 23. Video recordings of the hearings between commissioners and all the different departments will be available on the website as a “special series.”

The county commissioners have been pushing to have the meetings video recorded and broadcast for the last couple of years; Commissioner Angie Homola has even been videotaping the meetings herself, though she had nowhere to post the videos.

While the commissioners probably would have preferred a professional set-up and TV broadcast similar to what the city of Oak Harbor has, the county has neither the funding nor the TV access. Instead, Budget Director Elaine Marlow researched the options and found a relatively simple and inexpensive solution that can reach more members of the public than the city’s cable channel.

The county contracted with AV Capture All, which provides the software and the platform for streaming of the video. The recording is time-stamped and integrated with the council’s agenda, allowing people to simply “click” to the discussion of issue they’re most interested in, Marlow said.

She said the setup cost $4,800 for a new camera, a new PC and the cost of running cable. The AV Capture All service costs $200 a month.

Marlow said the commissioners are hoping to someday also videotape and stream additional meetings, including the Wednesday staff sessions, Council of Governments and Board of Health meetings. Homola has said she also hopes to have the meetings broadcast on local cable television channels.

The commissioners made moves toward transparency in the last couple of years by making the agenda available online, as well as audio recordings of meetings.

 

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