Council meetings to be live-streamed
Chambersburg Borough Council meetings will be live-streamed using the Zoom platform this year, beginning Monday. Borough staff spent much of the last year developing a hybrid live-streaming system that will let local residents both view and interact with council during meetings.
“It is important that Town Council meet in person whenever possible; and that citizens have access to their elected officials,” Borough Manager Jeff Stonehill said. “We have been working for almost a year in unique circumstances to protect the health and safety of Council as well as visitors, while maintaining access.”
Now meetings can take place both in-person and on-line. Citizens can attend in person while practicing social distancing and other pandemic protocols. Or they can participate virtually using the Zoom platform and technology.
This is the first time Chambersburg has permitted virtual meeting access. Since the beginning of the COVID-19 health emergency, Council has continued to meet in person. Meetings happened at least once per month during the spring and summer 2020, then more often in the fall.
Staff successfully interconnected Council chambers to the existing sound system to allow participants to have two-way remote interaction.
Hybrid meetings allows participation
The new system is called “hybrid” because it provides a simultaneous in-person and internet setup for public meetings. It is more technically challenging than if all participants were merely accessing the system remotely, Stonehill said. The advantage is that allows in-person participation as well.
State law permits virtual governmental meetings, with stipulations. Elected officials must be able to see, hear, and participate in what is occurring in the live in-person meeting for their remote votes to count.
“This is a technical challenge when much of the meeting will be taking place in-person in Council Chambers at City Hall,” Stonehill said.
Meetings will be “run” in-person from Council Chambers. The public can now choose how they want to “attend” — in person or virtually.
Requirements for in-person attendance
Those attending in-person must use face-coverings and agree to temperature checks when entering. Occupancy will be limited according to state guidelines for in-person participation.
The Borough’s agenda is available on-line here. Or you can go to the boroughs website, and click on Transparency. Chambersburg has obtained a government license from the Zoom meeting platform, which is free and can be downloaded at www.zoom.us.
Citizens are welcome to log on and witness/ask questions using the Zoom meeting platform.