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Crookston City Council exploring livestream of meetings

Mike Christopherson
Crookston Times

    After approving the purchase of audiovisual technology that will make livestreaming meetings possible in the community/public space at Valley Technology Park – it’s an eligible investment using federal CARES Act money – the Crookston City Council is looking to make a similar investment to make livestreaming meetings possible from the city hall council chambers.

    The council this week approved spending just over $23,000 in CARES Act dollars to equip the recently renovated, large public meeting/gathering space in the VTP lobby, where the CHEDA Board meets but where other groups are also able to gather.

    HB Sound and Light, Inc. submitted the low bid.

    “Personally, I think it’s a good idea,” Ward 1 Council Member Jake Fee said. “Anything we can do to be more transparent.”

    Although there have been glitches along the way – which appear to have finally been worked out – there is a live audio link people can access to hear council and Ways & Means Committee meetings in the chambers. But there have been complaints; early on they mostly had to do with volume and sound quality, but the quality has improved of late. The biggest complaint Fee said he hears now is listeners, if they don’t recognize the person’s voice, don’t know who’s speaking during the live audiostream.

    Interim City Administrator Angel Weasner said she’s consulting with City IT Director Philip Barton on what needs to be purchased and what needs to be installed in the council chambers in order to livestream meetings.

    Ward 2 Council Member Steve Erickson noted that previous talks, although preliminary in nature, sought to explore such a purchase for the council chambers, but the cost was too much for the council to stomach. “But if we can find something in the $23,000 range and have it come out of CARES money, bring it back to the council,” he said.