By David Tuma, Publisher
Communities have begun to work with technology more and more with advances in this area. Later this month the Belton Police Department will host an open house and the changes will be dramatic in terms of the use of technology at this expanded facility.
From high school football players studying game film with ipads to children with phones more like computers, the future is now.
Texas passed a law allowing teleconferencing at public meetings. Larger communities have been using this asset for some time. The law was passed in 2013, allowing an amendment to public meetings in Texas.
This comes into play in many ways. When Belton was looking into going with automated meters, instead of telling what they found out from the city staff of Hewitt. They could have hosted a teleconference with those in the know.
Belton’s City Council meetings already have two large screens on both sides of the room used for displays. The council uses ipads to read agendas of meetings.
Councilman David K. Leigh travels all over the country doing business. Leigh is one of Belton’s brightest minds. His success in multiple businesses speaks for itself.
Leigh will attend and participate in this week Belton city council meeting from Minnesota.
They did a test run last week and another one Monday. The fact that Leigh will be participating by teleconference was also previously posted.
Leigh will be able to see all the council members as required by law. They will be able to see and interact with him in real-time. Belton uses WebEX technology. This is the same technology used by many corporations with board members who live all over the world.
The key point is this, David must be able to see all the council members and they visually see him. This has become common in larger communityies city council meetings. There will be a tripod with a camera focusing on the city council so Leigh can see them. Leigh will be on one of the side screens of the council chambers.
If there is a visual display of a projected project, Leigh will be visual in the corner of the screen. Leigh’s image will be at least 27 square inches in size.
Leigh does not have control of the tripod. He will be able to see the councilmember’s faces.
It will be announced at the meeting that Leigh is attending by remote. He will also be asked if they can continue the meeting if he loses connection, according to Paul Romer Public Information Officer with the city.
“One of the things this does is allow us to connect remotely with people out of the state or county. There are those who can’t attend do to travel issues. It must be posted publicly first. This gives the council and city staff some options. We have talked about this for awhile,” said Romer.
“We haven’t heard any negative. I think you will see more of this type of thing in the future. This isn’t just the City of Belton. There have been a number of communities using this technology. For us this is a big step. Leigh is very busy.”
Chris Brown, the City of Belton Director of Technology, has been active in creating more technology friendly environments at the expanded Police Department building.
In other city business ,the public meeting on the development of a new master parks plan went well with over 40 in attendance. There will be another meeting in April and there will be a public meeting of the Police Station later this month.