The Edmonds City Council voted unanimously Tuesday night to begin broadcasting council meetings live.
Councilmembers indicated they could see no downside to the idea, which they believe will help citizens better understand the council decision-making process and also provide more transparency. Councilmember Joan Bloom asked if it would be possible to have citizens call in to the meetings or otherwise have a way to ask their questions live; Councilmember Diane Buckshnis said that idea would require some way of being able to identify those asking the questions. Council President Lora Petso, who brought the concept before the council, said she is “thinking baby steps” and that such an idea could be explored later.
Council meetings are currently recorded on a hard drive, transferred to a DVD and then broadcast the day after the meeting. The real-time broadcasts will begin when staff is confident the system is working properly. In addition to the live broadcasts, meetings will be rebroadcast daily at noon and 7 p.m. on Channels 21 and 39.
The Council also:
– Heard a presentation by Planning Board members Valerie Stewart and Ian Duncan on sustainable design, to highlight the economic, environmental and social benefits of green building. Among the takeaways: the City of Edmonds should invest in training its staff to become experts in sustainable building design and clarify its code to enable green building. “Builders when I talk to them, what they really want is predictability,” Stewart said. Duncan added that there’s a mistaken perception that “green development” costs more, but the reality is that it saves money for a variety of reasons, including reduced capital and operating costs
– Received an update on Snohomish County buildable lands and population/employment projects, to provide background for the city’s next mandatory comprehensive plan update, due in 2015.
– Listened to the 2012 annual report from the municipal court judge Doug Fair, who explained that court revenues are down primarily to a lower case load, although expenses are also lower for the same reason. The court is also continuing to gain efficiencies through better uses of technology, Fair added.
– Heard proclamations from Mayor Dave Earling regarding March as Brain Injury Awareness Month and also Arbor Day on April 10. The Arbor Day proclamation appropriately followed the annual report from the Edmonds Citizens Tree Board, which highlighted its 2012 accomplishments and 2013 goals.