The City of Ripon will soon upgrade the audio-visual system in the Council Chambers.
Elected leaders recently approved the Accela Digital Boardroom and Automated System after having concerns with the one in place.
This one has problems with the touchscreen voting system along with poor visual quality of presentations as projected and displayed on the council dais.
No surprise that the Accela system is the same one used by the San Joaquin County Board of Supervisors.
They, too, used an audio-visual system similar to that in Ripon.
Dan Bannon, who is the City’s Information System Technician, was among the group of city staff that recently toured the SJC Administration Building in downtown Stockton to check out this upgraded system.
For Ripon, he believes the Accela system will remedy many of the current problems.
“The Board of Supervisors found the same things we did – the AMX (touchscreen) system previous was not reliable,” Bannon said.
For starters, each system was custom built – like Ripon – for the installation, thus, was never updated over time, he pointed out.
The results of that was intermitted failures and unpredictable behavior by the audio-visual system.
Accela system comes with an annual subscription cost of $14,920.
Bannon indicated that the cost here is well worth it, considering that Accela system not only automates the agenda-building process but also reduces the burden on staff by streamlining the meeting process.
Along with preparing the agenda, this software package can take minutes of each session and post live voting results.
Besides the annual subscription cost, Council also agreed on a one-time cost of $17,080 for adding and replacing any of the aging computers ($4,450), new touch panel displays ($1,330) and speaker-timer system ($1,400), to name a few.
Council, in addition, will have five new laptop computers with larger screens ($7,500).
“I’m reserving roughly $2,400 for miscellany, such as adapters, cabling, and video/network switching components, as needed,” Bannon said.
With the upgrades, the City could look to raise the use of facility fees.
“If we’re going to incur $15,000 a year cost for upgrades to the Council Chambers then a cost breakdown should be calculated for the use of the facility and technology to address the rental agreement and pricing,” Councilman Leo Zuber said at the Sept. 13 meeting.
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