Meetings of the Livingston County Board of Commissioners will no longer be broadcast in 2019.

A committee formed last fall was tasked with exploring the concept of broadcasting board meetings. Only board meetings are recorded, not committee meetings, and are made available on the county website. An initial trial agreement was worked out with SoundQue Multimedia to record meetings for a period of six months to establish proof of concept for the services. A separate agreement was authorized last April by the full board to extend the service through the end of the year. A full board vote to end the recordings is apparently not needed and on November 19th, the broadcast committee voted 2-1 to do so to essentially see if residents care to see them continue.

The broadcast committee is comprised of Chairman Gary Childs and Commissioners Doug Helzerman and Dave Domas, who is now departed after not running for re-election in November. The motion to allow the proof of concept phase to expire and reconvene to review the matter again in 2019 for comparison was made by Helzerman.

Childs was the lone opposing vote and told WHMI he wants keep the recordings and web postings to continue as a means of keeping people informed about what’s going on instead of just reading the minutes – adding a lot of people have work, families or other responsibilities that can prevent attendance. Childs says he just wants to make it as easy as possible for Livingston County residents to get a handle on what’s going on, instead of just reading the meeting minutes. Childs added the recordings grant viewers the ability to see the actual presentations delivered during board meetings, which he thinks is important. He noted that some feared continued videotaping of the meetings would make them go longer because of grandstanding and public comment but he maintains that is not the case and the meetings have not gotten any longer. There was also said to be a fear that tape recordings are often used politically. Childs says a lot of townships currently broadcast their meetings and in his personal opinion, doesn’t see why the county would not.

The cost of broadcasting is approximately $250 per meeting. There has been discussion related to the budget and costs, and whether to continue with the service or to potentially move the operation in house. The broadcast committee meeting minutes are attached. (JM)