Atlantic Beach Might Video-Record Meetings; but It Would Be Expensive, and Cost Must Be Balanced against the Benefit

By Dixon, Drew | The Florida Times Union, September 8, 2010 | Go to article overview
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Atlantic Beach Might Video-Record Meetings; but It Would Be Expensive, and Cost Must Be Balanced against the Benefit


Dixon, Drew, The Florida Times Union


Byline: DREW DIXON

ATLANTIC BEACH - The city could be the first Beaches municipality to provide continued video recording of regular meetings, if the money's there.

Discussion on video-recording City Commission meetings is expected to continue in the near future after robust debate last month. While Assistant City Manager David Thompson said he'd support instituting video recordings at commission meetings, he acknowledged this might not be the year it gets approved.

"I think anything we can do that helps bring government into the public light is a good thing," Thompson said Friday. "The flip side of that is looking at balancing that against the cost. In the present economy, how much are you willing to spend to provide that service?"

After being directed by commissioners Carolyn Woods and Jonathan Daugherty, Thompson gave a presentation to the commission Aug. 23 that showed adding video could be expensive.

Thompson provided four options ranging from using a local videographer with one camera; using a "single, preset camera" that would be fixed on the commission with a wide angle; using three cameras directed by staff; and hiring a private video production company to record the meetings.

Thompson's estimates showed that the costs would range from $30,400 over five years for a single fixed camera to $61,700 for the same period by hiring a production firm to run the recordings.

Woods requested the research because she's concerned about accurately recording statements, particularly from residents speaking in the citizens comment portion of the meeting.

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