Why Carpentersville might stop video recording, streaming board meetings

 
 
Updated 1/8/2018 9:57 AM
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  • Carpentersville Village Trustee John O'Sullivan.

    Carpentersville Village Trustee John O'Sullivan.

Carpentersville officials are considering cheaper alternatives for video recording and streaming village board meetings -- a service that costs the village more than $17,000 per year.

Purchasing its own cameras and operating the technology in-house are among the village's options for replacing the videographer hired to record each meeting, IT Director Kevin Goethals said. To save money and staff time, the village board is also contemplating whether to cease recording altogether.

"There's nothing not transparent about this open meeting and not broadcasting it for this kind of money," Trustee John O'Sullivan said. "This is a ridiculous waste of taxpayers' funds."

Videography services cost the village $575 per meeting, resulting in an annual price tag of roughly $13,800, Goethals said. The village spends an additional $3,600 per year to broadcast the meetings live online and make them available for replay through Granicus, a digital services company, he said. The recording also airs on the local Comcast Channel 17 every week at no cost to the village.

In a memo, Goethals listed the cheapest alternative as an all-in-one camera system that would record, archive and broadcast the meetings, which typically take place the first and third Tuesday of every month. Purchasing the system, which includes two internet protocol cameras and other equipment would have a one-time cost of $6,946.

That would allow the village to stream its meetings on YouTube and Facebook and eliminate the need for a videographer or the Granicus service, Goethals said. However, that method would also require more staff time to work the camera at every meeting, and edit and post the video afterward.

In another option listed by Goethals, the village could purchase a single camera for $5,000 to $7,500 to be operated by a staff member. However, the Granicus service would still be needed to air the videos online.

A maximum of 30 people watch the meetings live, and videos are typically replayed 50 to 100 times, Goethals said. To some trustees, including O'Sullivan, those numbers aren't worth spending the money on recording devices.

"Forgive me, but the cost per viewer is outrageous for the taxpayer," he said. "These are public meetings. Thirty viewers are welcome to come here and see it live."

But Trustee Paul Humpfer said making the videos available online and on TV informs the public of village happenings, which could be valuable for Carpentersville's new marketing and branding initiative.

"One of the biggest problems that we have is getting in front of residents and reaching out to residents and getting them to participate," he said. "I think that's going to be important for the rebranding process."

The village board is expected to resume discussions at an upcoming meeting.

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