The Bloomfield Township Board of Trustees won't make any decisions on how many public meetings will be videotaped and streamed live over the Internet until well into next month. But it appears untelevised meetings are a thing of the past.
Two video cameras and a third camera used to stream video on the Internet were set behind the public seating area at Bloomfield Township Hall Monday night as board members again discussed the likelihood of recording most, if not all, public meetings. None were opposed to the idea, however Township Supervisor Leo Savoie said he wanted more information.
Leslie Helwig, director of community relations, said she will present multiple options for board members to consider at the Sept. 12 meeting. Savoie said he made the issue a priority and met with Helwig about the topic several times since taking office this month. He said the options will incorporate costs for equipment and staff needed to air the meetings on Bloomfield Community Television, Channel 15.
Exactly which meetings to record and how the meetings will be recorded and presented will also be discussed. Requests from the public to televise meetings began years ago, but peaked during the selection process for a new supervisor in July.
“On behalf of the 56 associations that are part of organization, I would urge whoever is selected to telecast trustee meetings from here on," said Richard Moxely, president of United Homeowners of Bloomfield Township.
Moxely has been a fixture at meetings all summer and said he believes the change presents an opportunity for the township.
"I think it’s important for the public to know what public business is being transacted, and it will arouse interest in public, civic service,"he added.
The July 25 meeting, during which Savoie was appointed to replace the retiring Dave Payne, was the first to be televised in township history. It was also the first streamed on demand on the township's website.
A few weeks later, the Oakland Press offered to stream a live feed from the board meetings, Savoie said.
Upon some complaints about the audio of the township's recording, Savoie said his main concern was quality, and that he wanted to ensure the board had a full picture of the cost and logistics involved.
“If we’re going to do it I want the quality to be the best that the cable studio can possibly be,” Savoie said. "With quality comes price."
Treasurer Dan Devine said he believed the township could televise meetings at low or no cost because of the equipment the cable channel currently has, and the staff's ability to work flexible schedules.
He also proposed recording every public meeting.
Until a decision is made, regular board meetings will continue to be recorded for viewing on both cable and the Internet.
"It’s an issue who’s time has finally come," Trustee David Buckley said. "I think we need to start taping immediately and then look at the costs at putting in a system. With one of the premier cable system’s in the country 100 yards away, there’s really no question about it."
Monday's meeting was streamed live by the Oakland Press and will be available on demand on the township's website on Tuesday.