PORT TOWNSEND — The Jefferson County commissioners approved a bid Monday to set up a live-streaming service that will allow people to watch meetings from anywhere and on their own time.
“I think this is going to be a great asset for the community, especially the people who are not able to come on Monday mornings, to be able to watch in time what their government is doing,” said Commissioner Kathleen Kler following the meeting Monday.
Commissioners approved Electrocom’s $23,369.79 bid for the project as part of their consent agenda. The bid came in at about two-thirds the estimated $35,000 cost for the equipment.
Electrocom is a telecommunications contractor based in Lynnwood.
The new streaming and archiving system will eliminate regular public records requests the county receives weekly for audio recording of board meetings because the audio and video will be available on the county’s website.
Users will be able to click on agenda items once the meeting is over to jump to the part of the meeting they wish to view, rather than searching for the relevant conversation, said Jefferson County Administrator Philip Morley.
The system could also be used for court proceedings and other meetings when video streaming and archived video are desired.
“It increases the transparency and the access for the public to the work of their county board of commissioners,” he said.
He said that not all people in Jefferson County — a county bisected by the Olympic Mountains — can attend the Board of County Commissioners meetings because of their schedule or it’s just too far of a drive.
The service will allow people to view the meetings from their own homes.
Morley said there is no exact date it would be implemented, but he expects the service to be up and running by the end of the first quarter of 2018.
Other jurisdictions across the North Olympic Peninsula, such as the Clallam County commissioners and the Port Townsend City Council, use similar systems to record their meetings.
Th new system will replace the existing audio recording system in the Board of County Commissioners Chambers. The new system will include microphones designed to pick up sound from the entire room.
There will also be three high-definition cameras aimed at the podium and the commissioners’ dais.
Reporter Jesse Major can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 56250, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.