The city of Hilliard constantly is working to improve the ways in which residents can engage with their local government. That includes how our community can participate in public meetings, including those of Hilliard City Council.
We know it’s not always convenient for members of our community to come to City Council meetings in person, and COVID has added an additional level of challenge to showing up in person.
For years, the city has allowed residents to watch public meetings like those of City Council and the Hilliard Planning and Zoning Commission streamed live and recorded after the fact. Unfortunately, at times the sound quality was not always great and the video was limited to a single camera from the back of Council Chambers.
This was as frustrating for us as it was for our viewers. Although it was better than nothing, it was not the best experience for those who wanted to follow along with council meetings from the comfort of their homes or the convenience of their mobile devices.
During the past few months, city staff members have been working to improve this user experience by installing a new system of cameras and microphones in Council Chambers. We also adopted new online software that will make the viewer’s experience superior. Now, when individual council members or others are speaking, cameras will focus on them rather than just taking a single wide shot of the room.
The meetings also will be easier for viewers to find, as they will stream live on the city's website at hilliardohio.gov/meetings rather than on a third-party website, as previously was the case. The website will be home to agenda packets, and users will be able to sort meetings by governmental body, meeting date and type of meeting. A link to upcoming meetings is available at the top of the city website’s homepage.
In the near future, the archived meetings from previous years will be uploaded to this new system, so users will be able to view past meetings on the city website, too.
Having advance access to meeting agendas and packets and easy, remote access to live meetings are important elements of a transparent government. We encourage residents to tune in to our website and check out this new technology in action during an upcoming meeting.
David Ball is director of community relations for Hilliard.
This article originally appeared on ThisWeek: Hilliard Headlines: City's revamped streaming system improves user experience