84° F Friday, July 28, 2017

Journalists strive to be good watchdogs of local government, but it’s hard to argue that we do a better job than video cameras do of capturing not just every vote but every question and point raised during council and board meetings that often last several hours.

Lakeway City Council members approved a plan at their meeting Monday night to purchase video cameras and contract with a Plano company to put video recordings of council meetings on the city’s website.

During some recent heated discussions about drug addiction treatment centers and annexations in Lakeway, awareness of local government appeared to be a contributing factor in some residents’ arguments. Elected officials, candidates and residents alike challenged and rebutted who said what and when.

Video recordings would provide another level of documentation and hopefully serve as a catalyst for an even more informed discourse.

Not everyone is able to devote an evening, much less a morning, to monitor his or her elected officials, but most citizens have access to the Internet at their homes and offices, on their smartphones or essentially any device that has a screen these days.

To accommodate the public, some local agencies, such as Lakeway Municipal Utility District, upload video of their meetings to their website for anyone to view. Others, such as the city of Bee Cave, provide CD recordings of City Council meetings to the public upon request.

Lake Travis ISD posts board agendas and other materials online, but it does not plan to videotape board meetings.

The district’s Lake Travis TV web platform would be an ideal medium to rebroadcast its board meetings to share not only district decisions but also the many celebrations of student and staff achievements.

The fledgling West Travis County Public Utility Agency has taken a good first step in posting its agendas and minutes online as it slogs through its first few months of operations.

The View applauds the city of Lakeway for taking a step in the right direction toward more open government and encourages other neighboring boards and councils to follow its lead.

Comments

  1. Put city tax dollars to good use for a change says:

    Bee caves city government doesn’t make it a priority to keep residents informed. They like to keep the sheep quiet while they carefully strategize their master plan. Like what recently happened with the approval of the sewage plant they are planning to build behind the galleria. Nothing but smoke and mirrors with this council. I guess they forgot they should be working in the best interest of its residents and not their own. They are only worried about sales tax dollars coming into the city to fund their latest quirks. If Bee caves city government really wanted its residents to stay informed they would televise their council meetings like most legitimate cities do. Many residents do not have the luxury to attend council meetings due to work or school commitments. Not to mention those who are infirmed, elderly or handicap. Put city tax dollars to good use for a change.

  2. Don't blame others for a change says:

    The sewage plant was planned before the approval of the HCG. It wasn’t recent, but a decade old plan to address the “increased waste” of this community. The council meets twice a month – if you were genuinely concerned, you would find the time to attend instead of complaining about how it does accommodate your schedule.

  3. Spoonful of sugar makes medicine go down says:

    To don’t blame others for change:
    You have to blame yourself for not supporting residents of the town. Fortunately, I have the luxury of attending these meetings. Most of them are a joke and uneventful since city believes giving awards within their circle of friends is priority over residents concerns.
    You only need to see the outcome of resident concerns to judge.
    City failed to listen to residents regarding fighting Planet K, sewage plant location, repaving city roads and the list goes on. Guess if you overlook the previous blunders they really take resident concerns seriously;)
    Your right its time for change & city government should look to televise its council meetings for All residents to watch. Lakeway is doing it BeeCaves. Get with the times!
    Excuses are easier than solutions.

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