At its Dec. 10 meeting, the Board of Aldermen was split on whether or not to provide video recording of public meetings for residents.
Alderman Lindsey Butler [Ward 2] spearheaded a resolution that would allow the city administrator to investigate whether it was financially or practically feasible to provide a video recording of meetings. According to data obtained by Butler, approximately 22 percent of Missouri municipalities use social media, including live-streaming, podcasts, Facebook, YouTube and television channels, to engage the community. She said she feels that, in keeping up with the digital age, this is the next logical step. Currently, residents may obtain an audio recording of meetings through the city’s clerk upon request.
In opposition to the motion was Alderman Fred Meyland-Smith [Ward 3], who said videotaping would “prohibit communication and discourage attendance and be a detriment to residents.” Butler rebutted his comments by saying that it could have quite the opposite effect.
“I think it has the potential to increase participation. It would give access to busy, young families or students or the aging population who cannot travel at night,” she said.
Since mid-summer, Butler has personally live-streamed the board meetings through her personal Facebook account. It has been favorably received she said with viewership between 79 and 137 people per live-stream.
“After every meeting, I get a phone call or message from at least one of the viewers making suggestions for the next meeting,” Butler said “Currently, the views are limited by the fact it’s on my personal account. I know if it was done by the city then the entire community could access it via the city’s website.”
Though split on how to proceed, the council did agree to continue the motion to its Jan. 15 meeting.