NASHVILLE — Nash County commissioners voted Monday to soon begin broadcasting their open meetings live.
Board Chairman Robbie Davis brought up the issue at Monday’s meeting. During the meeting, he referred to a recent article he had read in the Rocky Mount Telegram regarding upgrades to the technology in the Frederick B. Cooper Commissioners Room on the third floor of the Claude Mayo Jr. Administration Building.
The $98,000 cost of that upgraded technology was split 50-50 between a state grant and county funds. As part of the upgrade, the county replaced all the control room video recording equipment and all of the display and presentation equipment in the Commissioners Room. The new upgrades were finalized in September.
“I read about the update to the facilities here and the fact that we still do not produce our meetings live because something was located in another location,” Davis said. “Is there anything we are doing with our countywide internet service that will solve that so that we could produce the meetings live if the board so chose to?”
Sandi Vick, information technology director for Nash County, replied that live streaming of the meetings already was potentially possible.
“We could do live now, but we didn’t think the board was receptive to that at this point,” Vick said. “Prior to this recent upgrade, we could not do that.”
Nash County manager Zee Lamb explained that Nash County Communications Manager Jonathan Edwards had indicated to the media that live streaming was not yet possible in the boardroom.
“With the new upgrade, that is now possible,” Vick said. “That was one of these things we put in our new upgrade is the ability to go live. So, Jonathan and I can work on making that happen, if that is the direction that the board wants to go. We will be happy to do that.”
Davis polled the board members, asking if any objected to having the meetings broadcast live in the future. No one objected and several board members said they encouraged the production of live meetings.
Davis said he felt the increased transparency would benefit residents of Nash County.
“I am surprised by how many people watch the delayed production of the meetings now,” Davis said. “I often get comments about what we do up here.”
For several years, regular Nash County board meetings have been recorded and posted within a few days of the meeting. Since the upgrades took place, they have been posted within hours. Going live will make the meetings available to the public in real time.
At Monday’s meeting, the board also decided to hold all future open meetings in the Frederick B. Cooper Commissioners Room. In the past, the regular board meetings at 9 a.m. on the first Monday of each month were held in that room. However, most months, the board recesses until a second meeting typically held at 1:30 p.m. on the third Monday of the month. Those meetings often have been held in a smaller meeting room on the third floor of the building.
But with the new upgrades to the Commissioners Room, Davis proposed that all future open meetings be held in that room so that the board members could take advantage of the upgraded technology. The Commissioners Room also allows for better participation by the media and the public, Davis noted.
In a later interview, Davis said the timing of when the live meetings will begin will be dependent on when the technology department can take the needed steps to make that happen.
As of now, the Rocky Mount City Council does not broadcast its meetings, even though they possess the capability to record them. Edgecombe County commissioners also do not post videos of their meetings, citing the lack of resources to do so.