Meetings to be taped for public access


By Anna Bolton - adewine@aimmediamidwest.com



XENIA — Residents who are unable to make the 1 p.m. Greene County Board of Commissioners meeting every Thursday may soon be able to access a video recording online.

Commissioners and County Administrator Brandon Huddleson discussed June 22 the possibility of regularly video taping meetings, but this isn’t the first time the idea has been brought to light.

Huddleson said the issue has been talked about for quite some time, but that the cost of equipment was too high in prior years.

What once would have costed $50,000 now costs closer to $5,500, according to the county administrator, who said equipment is on order.

“Eventually it looks like we’re going to have a camera here,” he confirmed. “Now it is cost effective. The public would like to see it happen.”

Greene County residents have recently spoken up about the issue during the public comment portion of meetings, pushing for the addition of weekly video recordings.

Kim McCarthy of Xenia, who has been attending the meetings regularly since November, said in an interview that she was dismayed to discover that the attendance rate by citizens is extremely low.

“My attendance at the meetings has shown me where our tax dollars are being spent, as well as what grants we receive from the state and federal governments, and allows me to understand what the priorities of the commission are,” she said. “I feel that it is important that other residents of Greene County have that same access, if they so wish.”

McCarthy added that she was thrilled that the commissioners were planning to include video in the future.

Dorothée Bouquet of Yellow Springs, who also attends the meetings regularly, is another resident pleased that the issue is being addressed.

“With the current set-up, most county residents are alienated from knowing how their tax dollars are being used. The commissioners and the administrator are meeting on a weekday at 1 p.m., leaving out most of the residents who have rigid working hours,” she said.

Currently, the public can access audio recordings of each meeting. With the proposed addition of video recording, a video would be posted to the website for public access in the days following each meeting.

“It’s an effort to be transparent. We understand that our meetings are held during the work day and if people are interested in the business of their county, we want them to be able to access that information, see what decisions are being made, and what conversations are being had in the public,” Huddleson said.

Before any recording is done, the board will develop a set of policies and procedures. This might include a time limit and subject constraint for speakers.

One concern mentioned was that the meetings could become a platform for other issues that are not relevant to the agenda. The commissioners discussed compiling policies from other municipalities and counties to help create their own.

“If you don’t have some direction on things or if you don’t have structure then you don’t know what you’ve got,” Commissioner Alan Anderson said during the public comment portion of the meeting.

“You have to have a road map,” Commissioner Tom Koogler agreed.

The board will begin compiling policies for the next step in this project.

By Anna Bolton

adewine@aimmediamidwest.com

Contact Anna Bolton at 937-502-4498.

Contact Anna Bolton at 937-502-4498.