BLOOMINGTON — After nearly two and a half years of planning, the City of Bloomington has purchased the equipment that they need to record and stream its city council meetings live over the Internet.
During a Sept. 24 meeting, Bloomington City Council approved an $80,215 contract with Zeller Digital Innovations Inc., which will provide equipment, installation and training for the City to record council meetings, air them live on the Internet, archive them online and rebroadcast them on public access television.
“Council approved implementation of a Voting Results/Timer system, Video Presentation improvements within the City Council Chambers and implementation of a Video Streaming/Recording/Archiving solution,” said Bloomington Information Services Director Scott Sprouls. “All three of these solutions are planned for completion by the end of calendar year 2012. These solutions will be implemented simultaneously and, upon completion, the City will be able to stream Council meetings.”
The City of Bloomington will start streaming its city council meetings live on its website www.cityblm.org in January, said Sprouls.
“Current schedule is for completion by the end of calendar year 2012, which means January 2013 meetings would be the first meetings to be streamed and recorded for playback,” said Sprouls.
In April 2010, Bloomington City Council approved a communications plan that included the streaming technology.
“Although implementation of the communications plan remained a Council goal, other Council goals were given priority, from both a budget and human resources availability standpoint,” said Sprouls. “There was a need to complete the first two phases of the communications plan — audio improvements in Council Chambers and City website redesign — before it made sense to implement the video streaming technology.
“The City’s website has been recently redesigned. No changes will be necessary. We’ll simply add the live video streaming and archive to the respective pages on the site. A citizen would then be able to click on the site to either watch a live stream or historical archive of a particular meeting.”
The City of Bloomington has not made plans to stream its board and commission meetings live over the Internet.
“Although this is technically possible, no determination has been made as to how the technology will be used by any other board or commission,” said Sprouls.
The City plans to install two 55-inch monitors and a 70-inch monitor in the Bloomington Council Chambers, 109 E. Olive St., Bloomington.
“The 70-inch display is part of the voting/timer solution and will be placed on the back wall of Council Chambers,” said Sprouls. “The two 55-inch displays were purchased for the video presentation technology improvements and will be placed on either side wall of the dais. The projector screen is located on the wall behind the mayor. These displays will allow council members who cannot see the projector screen from their seats to watch the same image, as it’s displayed on either side wall.”
An agreement between the City and Comcast that would allow Bloomington City Council meetings to be broadcasted on public access television is still in the works. The City would like to start broadcasting its city council meetings on public access television by February.