Atlantic City Transparency Act; Kurtz & City Council Considers Webcasting

Atlantic City may soon WEBCAST it’s council meetings. Atlantic City Councilman Jesse Kurtz introduced that no-brainer idea, part of his so-called Transparency Act on Wednesday night. It quickly passed the ‘first reading’. LISTEN TO PODCAST.

Background: In 2013, next door in Brigantine; the island just north of Atlantic City, began Internet broadcasting….and archiving… video of their City Council meetings. It was great & cheap way for MORE people to watch city government at work….either live or later on-demand.

atlantic city kurtz
Councilman Jesse Kurtz

The Brigantine City Manager said the plan was to create an archive of recordings for residents to peruse on demand. This archive would live on Youtube.

Much like Atlantic City, Brigantine Taxpayers had been asking for this for a long time….for greater transparency, and better accessibility for second home-owners and those who can’t attend 5pm meetings at City Hall.

Some on council initially balk at being recorded. Some suggest they’re just fearful more taxpayers will see how they vote and spend taxpayer dollars.

At one time, it was too expensive to WEBCAST…..and ARCHIVE city council & commissioner meetings. But Brigantine Police Chief and tech-guru; Jim Bennett, set up the webcast for Brigantine in 2013. It only cost the town $199 for a digital encoder that sends the live video to the Internet. UStream.tv, is the third-party website that processes the video. That costs about $99 per month.

These fees could be underwritten by local advertisers if so desired. To long-term archive these ‘webcasts’, most use Youtube, which is free.

Costs involved:

  • Camera: $200.
  • Digital Encoder: $199.
  • Monthly U-STREAM Fee: $99
  • Youtube Channel for Archiving Meetings: FREE

“The more transparency, the better,” said the Brigantine Taxpayers Association. “The more access people have to public information, the better they can evaluate the way their government’s working.”

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