Options to put meetings on community TV

By Dawn De Busk
Staff Writer

CASCO — Town and committee meetings are now being televised on Cable Community Channel 2.

At a recent Casco Board of Selectmen meeting, a member of the Media Sharing Committee presented the group’s findings and offered five options for residents to continue to have town meetings recorded and replayed on community television.

The camera and audio equipment recording the meeting in the Casco Community Center stood as testament to the Media Sharing Committee’s hard work.

The committee started meeting in early March, and it has already lined up a list of options, some of which voters could decide on at the annual town meeting.

The subject of recording municipal meetings came up a year ago last spring during several Casco Board of Selectmen meetings, according to Selectman Ray Grant.

But, it wasn’t until earlier this year when community members started asking about the formation of a committee to move forward with finding a way to get meetings televised.

Selectmen appointed committee members Robert Thorpe, Wayne Ward, Jeannine Oren and Donna Morton. Weekly meetings were scheduled for the month of March. Ward and Thorpe resigned after the first meeting. But, the two women were able to wrap things up. In fact, both Morton and Oren requested selectmen to dissolve the committee since its work is done. The board granted their wish with a vote last week.

The Media Sharing Committee had explored ways to meet its objective. Rather than choosing the best options for the town, the committee shopped around, testing out various services with the capability.

Oren provided a quick checklist of solutions, including doing nothing. Each potential solution was explained; and pros and cons were provided.

One of the options was for the town to renew its contract with Time Warner by joining the Lake Region Cable TV Consortium, a group of towns united in getting the best deal from the telecommunications company.

Another choice was entering into a cost sharing agreement with the Town of Raymond to use its broadcasting equipment. The downside is that Casco would play second fiddle to Raymond’s recording needs.

Or, the town could engage the services of Lake Region Television, which the committee reported was the least expensive approach. On the flip side, the town wouldn’t advance its own audio and visual equipment, and would lose potential grants given to improve the town’s technological communication.

Another consideration: Getting the professional advice of an independent technology consultant. The committee provided the name of an individual who could assist selectmen with writing bid proposals.

Following the quick committee update, Oren said she and Morton would be available to answer future questions – even though the committee would no longer exist.

In related news, the audio of the March 15 meeting is available through the town’s website. The audio version of Tuesday’s meeting should be downloaded onto the website as well, according to Town Manager Dave Morton.

Also, the selectmen-approved summarized minutes from Nov. 9, will be posted on the website, which is www.cascomaine.org

Through Lake Region Television, Board of Selectmen meetings will be aired on Wednesdays at 9 p.m., Thursdays at 8:30 p.m., and Fridays and Saturdays at 5:30 p.m.

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