The Free Press, Mankato, MN

Local News

January 15, 2013

Blue Earth County Board on brink of videotaping meetings

MANKATO — The Blue Earth County Board appears ready to hire a company to videotape its board meetings.

It would cost about $9,600 to pay a company to record meetings and produce an edited video for the rest of the board meetings this year, communications manager and business analyst Jessica Beyer told the County Board Tuesday. That’s compared to an estimate of about $12,800 a year for the county to buy its own equipment.

Tuesday’s meeting was a work session, so no vote was taken, but all five commissioners supported the proposal.

“Make it so,” Commissioner Mark Piepho said.

Profire Creative Design recorded the County Board’s Dec. 11 meeting, an edited video of which the commissioners watched in part Tuesday. They were impressed by its quality.

Commissioner Vance Stuehrenberg, who first suggested that meetings be recorded, was most impressed by the fact that the video would be finished within two days of the meeting.

“One thing that irritates me (about other meeting recordings) ... a lot of time they don’t have their video up for two or three weeks after the meeting. How can you be open and transparent if you don’t see it right away?” he said.

After hearing Beyer’s report, the County Board’s decision to hire a contractor was not a difficult one.

She etimated it would cost $54,000 to buy three high-definition cameras and an audio system, plus $2,000 a year to record and edit video. If the technology could be presumed to last five years, the annual cost would be about one-third higher than the consultant option.

Information Technology Director Charlie Berg agreed that the consultant option was the right way to go.

“I would really like to see how they go about things. We may pick up some pointers from them,” he said.

Using CCTVpublic access to record meetings wasn’t an option, partly because Nicollet County board meetings are already being taped on Tuesday mornings.

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