Park Board staff has developed a plan to get Park Board meetings on the air -- cable television and Webcast -- for a modest $21,000 a year.
A key Park Board committee approved the plan March 3. The board came under pressure to broadcast meetings following a particularly contentious debate on hiring interim superintendent Jon Gurban in December. Currently, both the Minneapolis City Council and the School Board broadcast their meetings online and via cable access.
Larry Brandts, manager of Information and Technology Services, said if the full board approves the plan, it would take at least three to four months to purchase the equipment, get the Time Warner Cable connections and broadcast the first meeting.
In 2000 and 2002, the Park Board considered broadcasting meetings but took no action due to cost concerns, according to a Park Board memo.
The Park Board moved into its new headquarters building, 2117 W. River Road N. this summer. The boardroom has an unequipped audio/visual production room.
The board would need to spend $61,717 for startup costs for a four-camera video system, cable connections, furniture and lighting, Brandts' memo said.
Don Siggelkow, assistant superintendent for administration and finance, said the board could pay for the equipment from a computer replacement fund. The Park Board would spend $8,800 a year on equipment by amortizing the startup costs over seven years.
Brandts estimates a $12,100 annual operating budget for maintenance, city broadcast fees and Webcasting. (The Park Board expects to use existing staff to run the equipment.)
The full board is expected to vote on the measure March 17.
-- Scott Russell