Danedri Thompson
[email protected]
Gardner City Council meetings could be video taped as early as Jan. 17, finance director Laura Gourley told council members Monday night.
Two weeks ago, staff showed council members a bid for videotaping meetings that would cost approximately $40,000, but Gourley said a contractor who built the audio system in council chambers had “an epiphany” about a way to do the taping that could cost as little as a couple thousand dollars.
The challenge, Gourley said, is that much of the equipment is proprietary, but the vendor may have a plan to work around that piece of the puzzle.
If the plan works, power points and other presentations won’t be incorporated into the videotape, but it can be placed online with council agendas.
“It can not be prettily put into your video, where you’re just clicking along and it runs,” she said.
In the meantime, city staff also heard estimates that would cost a little less than $10,000 based on information from the city staff of Russell, Mo.
Gourley said she’d like to wait to see how and if the audio vendor’s plan would work, and use the Russell, Mo. plan as a back-up.
“If you are so inclined to pre-bless, (videotaping) could be here by Jan. 17,” Gourley said.
Assistant City Administrator Melissa Mundt said improvements to the microphones the city council currently uses will require anadditional expense.
Council member Kristina Harrison, who attended the meeting by phone, gave the go-ahead.
“I’m fine with moving forward with what’s most effective as long as it’s under $10,000,” Harrison said.
After the videotaping discussion, a motion to adjourn Monday’s meeting failed for lack of a second. At the tail end of most meetings, city council members are asked if they have any questions or notes for staff and vice versa.
Council member Larry Fotovich said he had questions for staff, and Mayor Dave Drovetta said he could address those to them after the meeting adjourned, but council member Brian Broxterman’s motion to adjourn failed when no one seconded it.
“I was just going to check up on the contract addendum. Is that ready to go?”  Fotovich asked interim-city administrator Mike Press.
When council approved Press’ six month contract as interim administrator, the last page of the contract was left blank so city council members could fill-in what they hoped Press would accomplish. At the time, Press told council they would fill that page in together.
“I’ve reviewed it, and it looks like it meets our needs,” Drovetta said.
Fotovich also asked questions about Mundt’s contract and whether she had reverted back to assistant city administrator.
Harrison said she thought the city’s human resources manager had sent council members an update on that.
Drovetta said matters of personnel shouldn’t be discussed in an open meeting.
Fotovich also inquired about wireless Internet access. Fotovich said he’d like to bring his laptop to meetings so he could have access to files and the Internet.
“So you want to surf the Internet during a meeting?” Drovetta said.
“Occasionally, there’s a need to go on the Internet and see a file that we don’t have,” Fotovich said. “What’s the big deal?”
Council member Chris Morrow said he didn’t think wireless access was available in city hall, which made the topic moot.
In other business, council members:
• passed an ordinance requiring a city permit and fee for cereal malt beverages for special events with the city like the balloon festival and Festival on the Trails. The fee would be $25 per day with a $25 permit fee that would go to the state.
• adopted a resolution that expands Gardner’s boundaries to include everything annexed into city limits in the last year. The sole addition was approximately 40 acres where the school district’s proposed new middle and elementary schools would be.
• approved an ordinance that released a city easement back to the property owners near  Moonlight Plaza.
• passed a resolution supporting the application for tax credits for the construction of single family reduced income housing at Willow Brooke Estates, more commonly known as Bethel Estates.