For the past two years, I have tried unsuccessfully to earmark funds in our annual budget for the cable television broadcast of Arlington City Council meetings. Broadcasting these meetings would give those who cannot attend the opportunity to oversee the proceedings from their own living rooms.
Despite assurances during 2003 that funds for cable broadcast would be included in the 2005 budget, it has been pushed to 2006. I’ve been told that the reason for this is because construction of the new council meeting room/police station will not be completed until this summer, when it will be plumbed with the conduit necessary for the video cable wires. In my view, this wasn’t a valid reason to delay funding of it, but I was hopeful that eventually our citizens would have this service.
At the Nov. 29 joint meeting between our council and the Arlington School Board, I asked if the school district would consider a partnership on this project. Perhaps the fixed and ongoing costs could be shared by both the city and the school district in order to fund video programming of various city and school meetings and also high school games.
There appeared to be mutual interest in this possibility by school board and council members. I was pleasantly surprised when Arlington Councilman Ryan Larsen announced that his Finance Committee had already agreed to fund this and that it would be included in the 2006 budget. But he later reminded me that it is ultimately up to our mayor to include this in her budget. Hopefully she will do so.
Little has been done to research cost on this issue. The start-up costs may be as little as $10,000. Perhaps the Lakewood School District would also consider sharing in both the burden and the rewards of this wonderful public service.
Arlington City Council