I am a parent of school age kids, a small business owner and an active PTA member. Juggling responsibilities makes it difficult to attend as many government meetings as I would like. Even making the time to watch the live feed from the comfort of home is not always possible. I am not alone. With the school year starting soon my time and the time of most young families in our county will be taken up by afterschool activities, sports and family.
Providing opportunities for residents to be more engaged and better informed is a good thing. It should be a goal of all of our government leaders. Since the reduction in the number of County Commissioner meetings it can take up to two weeks for minutes to be approved and posted. The latest minutes posted online are from July 18.
On August 10th I started a petition requesting the following –
Currently the Kent County website has a live feed of the County Commissioner meetings but no video archive is available. You have to watch the feed while the meeting is happening. The County Commissioners and IT Department should provide a video archive that is available on the Kent County website. With the recent reduction of monthly County Commissioner meetings it would seem that it would not be an additional workload to continue to provide written minutes of these meetings in addition to a video archive.
Rock Hall provides a live stream and video archive. Their fee is $150 per month. Chestertown has a consultant record and post meetings on YouTube. I believe the consultant’s fee runs around $100 per month. Kent County is currently paying around $200 per month for just live streaming.
What was once considered a courtesy is becoming the standard. More than half of all Maryland counties provide written minutes as well as a video archive or link to a YouTube channel on their websites – Talbot, Queen Anne’s, Harford, Allegheny, St. Mary’s, Anne Arundel, Howard, Baltimore, Montgomery, Washington, Calvert, Wicomico. And two counties in Maryland provide written minutes as well as audio archive on their websites – Cecil and Garrett.
Last night I made my request in person at the County Commissioners meeting. They said they would consider it. If you would like to join me in my request please sign the petition at https://goo.gl/4fxybJ