VERO BEACH – The Vero Beach City Council has decided to hold off on moving forward with streaming their meetings live on the city’s Web site until the budget process in July.
Councilman Brian Heady has been pushing the city to have the meetings aired live online, rather than waiting to have the video archive uploaded to the city’s Web site.
“We can live stream this basically with the equipment that we have now and an extra card in the computer,” Heady told his fellow council members. Heady said after the meeting that he has spoken with the Web master for Indian River County’s Web site, who told him all they would need is a $200 card that would be installed a city computer to Web stream the meetings.
City Clerk Tammy Vock presented three options for the council ranging in base price from $1,850 to $4,655.
She recommended to council that they table the issue of live streaming the meetings until July because she plans to ask at that time for funds to replace the city’s 10-year-old TV equipment.
Vock said she estimates that cost to be about $40,000.
“I think it’s wise that we wait,” Councilman Tom White said of putting off the live streaming issue until they decide what to do about the aging equipment.
He added that they might run the risk of installing the live streaming equipment now only to find out that it is incompatible with the new recording system once that is in place.
“I’m totally in favor of it,” Mayor Kevin Sawnick said of the live streaming, but warned the council of the tough decisions they plan to face during the budget cycle.
He reminded them of last year’s budget discussion when they had considered closing Leisure Square’s pool and the Royal Palm Pointe fountain.
“We’ve got to weigh the priorities,” Sawnick said.
Heady said after the meeting that he believes the city would be able to save staff time if the city were to live stream the meetings online. Instead of having city staff members sit in the meetings the entire time, they could monitor the meeting from their own computers in their offices, working all the while.
The least expensive option Vock presented – $1,850 – would give the City of Vero Beach a live Web stream similar to that of the City of Sebastian’s Web channel, which uses Ustream.tv.
The drawback to the low-cost option, according to Vock, is the advertising that is placed periodically over the bottom of the Web video. The city would have no control over what advertising would be displayed. Also, the UStream Live logo would appear in a corner of the video’s player.
The next option up would be similar to Christ Church of Vero Beach’s live Web stream, which it does for its Sunday service. The system the church uses would cost the city $3,352 for the technology plus a $200-month service and support fee.
The most expensive option Vock presented would be akin to Martin County’s online stream, which would cost $4,655 for equipment and a monthly service and support fee of $378.
Both the City of Sebastian and Martin County stream their government TV channels online, while Christ Church of Vero Beach does selective live streaming.
Whether the City of Vero Beach would stream only its council meetings or the entire government channel remains to be determined.