Tune into City Council

Sean Joseph

Anyone with some means of transportation can go to Kent City Council meetings.

Anyone with the Internet can tune into the meetings.

And soon Kent City Council hopes to be available to anyone in the area with a television set, said Councilman Rick Hawksley.

For three years, people have been able to listen to council meetings by logging onto www.kentohio.org and finding the link to city council, said Clerk of Council Linda Copley.

Ross Miltner, undergraduate student senator for community affairs, proposed a budget for TV-2 to broadcast city council meetings on campus and around Portage County, said Bill Ross, executive director of the undergraduate student senate. TV-2 told USS it would cost $100 per meeting to air. The budget has not been approved yet, but Ross said he does not see anything standing in its way. If all goes as planned TV-2 will broadcast council meetings starting when students come back to campus in the fall.

“City politics affect students more directly than most understand,” Ross said. “If they don’t understand what is going on in the community around them, it would be difficult to understand anything at all.”

Hawksley said he promotes any public participation the council can get. He originally proposed televising meetings a few years ago. When that did not work out due to the cost, putting audio over the Web was the next best option, Hawksley said.

“A lot of Northeast Ohio cities are broadcasting their meetings,” Hawksley said. “The more informed people are about their community the more effective our government will be.”

The audience listening to the webcast is larger than Copley expected, she said. Webcasting “is an inexpensive way to let people attend meetings without being there physically,” Copley said. “We are always looking for ways to get information out to people.”

City council pays Live365.com, a California-based Internet company, $900 a year to put the audio stream on their Web site, Copley said.

Contact off-campus reporter Sean Joseph at [email protected].