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Coming to a TV near you? Live Lathrop senior board meetings
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LATHROP – Lathrop residents now have  the opportunity to watch City Council meetings live on Comcast Channel 97.

And depending on which way the Lathrop City Council leans when they meet on Monday, Aug. 1, residents might soon be able to watch all of the Lathrop commission meetings from the comfort of their living rooms as well.

During a two-day budget workshop last month, the subject of possibly broadcasting all meetings held inside of the council chambers at City Hall – the Planning Commission, the Parks and Recreation Commission, the Senior Advisory Commission – was brought up as a way to keep the public informed of the decisions made during the meetings.

Staff prepared a report about the cost of doing so. It will be presented to the council when they meet on Monday suggesting that in order to minimize costs only hour-long planning commission meetings should be broadcast.

When the number of meetings increases, or they extend beyond that one-hour limit, the city will then have to pay overtime to the Internet Technology staff member who must be on hand to monitor and operate the broadcasting equipment. It would roughly cost the city $40-an-hour, and the IT budget, according to the staff report, would have to be increased in order to reflect the change if that were the direction that the council were to go.

Typical City Council meetings can run upwards of four hours depending on the agenda. The council meets twice a month regularly while all other commissions are only scheduled to meet monthly to handle the business assigned to each of them.

But broadcasting live isn’t their only option.

One of the possibilities suggested by staff was publishing webcast 24-hours after the meeting that would allow people to still get the information they desire without incurring the additional cost.

Audio and video of planning commission and council meetings are already recorded for record keeping purposes. Copies are made available to the public as long as blank DVD-Rs are provided.