After spending thousands of dollars on a videographer the last several years, Carpentersville officials are opting for a cheaper method for video recording and streaming village board meetings.
Starting with the Feb. 6 board meeting, staff members will operate a camera in-house and stream the meetings live on YouTube, where they would also be available for playback, IT Director Kevin Goethals said. The village purchased and installed the technology at a one-time cost of $3,800, he said.
The all-in-one system replaces videography services that previously cost the village $575 per meeting, or about $13,800 per year, Goethals said. Carpentersville's YouTube channel also eliminates the need for a $3,600 annual agreement with Granicus, a digital services company that allowed the village to broadcast its meetings online.
"Really, we were just looking for ways to save money," Goethals said. "We found a cost-effective way to provide and maintain the same services (for) our residents at a much lower cost and with no recurring costs."
The village board unanimously approved the new system this month after discussing various alternatives, including the possibility of eliminating video recording altogether. Village President John Skillman said trustees ultimately recognized the value of recording meetings for transparency reasons.
Some trustees, including John O'Sullivan, said they thought the $17,000 expense was "outrageous" for the maximum 30 people who watch each video live. The videos are typically replayed 50 to 100 times.
"I think it's fair to say we should be a lot more conscious of what these things cost the taxpayer," O'Sullivan said. The new system, he said, is a "much more reasonable expenditure in terms of investment."
Board meetings will still be aired on the local Comcast Channel 17 each week at no cost, Goethals said. He's also in the process of transferring all archived meetings off the Granicus system and onto YouTube.
Skillman said officials will also consider adding another camera or installing other technology in the board room, such as TV screens for presentations.