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Hernando County, FL : Video of County Commission meetings to be streamed online

July 22, 2008
Original Publication by Barbara Behrendt
St. Petersburg Times

BROOKSVILLE — Although it may not generate as many Web hits as some of the fare on YouTube, the Hernando County Commission will soon be available on the Internet via streaming video.

That means that for residents who missed a discussion about their property taxes or talk of cutting county services, the meetings will now be archived and accessible anytime from one's own computer.

County officials are signing off on a contract with Long Island-based firm IQM2: Intelligent Meeting Management for a new system making County Commission meeting agendas, back-up materials and minutes more paperless than ever.

The same crews who tape live and broadcast commission and other government meetings on Bright House Cable Ch. 622 every week will provide feeds for the live — and later archived — streaming video.

All Hernando County Government Broadcasting programs will be streamed. The meetings will be shown live and also be archived, according to Rick Foti, video production manager. No decision has been made on how many already aired commission meetings might be archived as well.

"I think it's going to be good for the community, especially people in the more rural areas of the county, to know more about what their county is doing," Foti said Monday.

While Bright House will not provide any numbers, Foti said what he has heard from the community is that viewership of County Commission and other government broadcasting has dropped since the cable company moved its government channels to the digital tier of television last year.

This program will mean that those who have not paid extra for a digital box or digital service will again be able to watch their government in action.

The video portion of the program will cost $29,800 and is being paid for through the county's budget.

Karen Nicolai, the Clerk of the Circuit Court, is spending $59,500 more for the portion of the program that makes the meeting agendas, backup materials and minutes more electronic-based.

"It's going to be more efficient, and there will be real savings in the county administrator's office" especially for the county administrator's assistant Alice Gura, Nicolai said.

Gura assembles the pieces of each week's commission agenda, items that until now had to go through the budget department or legal staff via paper. Now, the process will all be electronic.

The new system could be operating in some of the larger departments by September, and the streaming video might also be available online in that same time frame, she said.

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