Toms River Township to begin broadcasting meetings
A grant to the Township of Toms River in the amount of $175,000, by Comcast Corporation will be used to purchase and install equipment and technology required to stream meetings live to the township’s website and to store archives of previous meetings. Mayor Tom Kelaher said the grant was part of the contract renewal process that took place earlier in the year to continue providing cable television service to Toms River cable subscribers. Under that agreement, Comcast had the authority to provide the township with the grant. Once the company had their franchise license approved by the Board of Public Utilities, Kelaher said the township received the grant money in a very timely fashion.
The money will be used to install the necessary cabling and wires, video cameras, recording equipment and the back end technology components required to broadcast meetings. “We chose to broadcast on our website and not on television because residents of the township get their television service from four different providers, Comcast, Cablevision on the island, satellite broadcast and FIOS, through Verizon.” Mayor Kelaher said “We wanted to make sure the broadcasts were available to all residents and that we had the option to store the recordings for those who were unable to watch at the time the meeting happened.”
Kelaher said broadcasting the meetings had been an ongoing debate by political opponents who claimed the administration should provide more transparency to the residents. “We wanted to broadcast meetings, but critics suggested we go out and buy the equipment.” Kelaher said “I knew this grant was coming, so we decided to save money and wait, so we can purchase the equipment with this grant.”
The township is taking advantage of a current infrastructure upgrade project currently ongoing in town hall and to install the cabling while ceilings are already exposed and work is being done on other systems, such as the HVAC system within the building. The township hopes to have the system operational by the end of October for testing and is hoping by November, they can start broadcasting meetings. The equipment would be available to any board that meets in the main meeting room inside town hall, according to Kelaher.
“This system not only answers the demand for transparency, it also allows those residents in town who otherwise could not attend meetings, such as the elderly or disabled to watch the meetings at their convenience.” Kelaher said. You can visit the Toms River Township website at www.tomsrivertownship.com for future updates on this issue and to look out for future meeting broadcasts.