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Council work session: Trout wants to spend thousands to upload and host council meeting videos; Lee not buying it

Editorial by Matt Marquardt –

City Administrator Brent Trout advocated to the City Council yesterday the spending of thousands of dollars on “hardware and software” so City Hall can upload videos of their meetings to the internet.

This software, called “Open Platform,” would cost the City $2,625 up front and then $249 per month to use.  The software allows a “stream” of video to be viewable on a web page and at the same time creates an archive of the meeting.

First Ward Councilman John Lee wasn’t sold on Trout’s idea, stating that a well-known and popular service called Youtube can host and play any video the City uploads at zero cost.   He said it is so easy to use that his student use it.  Other cities have a “branded Youtube channel,” Lee said.  “No upfront cost.”

Third Ward Councilwoman Jean Marinos only showed concern about the cost of the program rising over time.  Trout said the contract with the company he wants to work with, called Granicus, was year to year and the City could get out easily.

Councilman Scott Tornquist was worried about who would see the council videos and who could download them.  “Can anybody then  download a council meeting from the website?” Tornquist asked.  “So we really don’t have any control anymore basically where a council meeting might end up on the internet?”

Apparently Mr. Tornquist is not aware that shoots video of nearly every council meeting and then uploads them to Youtube, for everyone in the world to watch or download if they so choose.

Trout said that City Hall staff don’t have the time to use Youtube and that bandwidth would be an issue, stating it would “take hours” to upload a video.  In actuality, when a video is ready to upload, Youtube allows you to basically click a link that says “upload” and then walk away until the video is done uploading.  Clear Lake currently uploads its council meeting videos to Youtube.  You can see their last meeting here.  Trout said city staff did research on “other cities” that are using Youtube… but never mentioned Clear Lake.

Watch video of discussion:


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