Recording private council meetings could cost $7,500

The entrance to the Cornwall city council chambers. (Newswatch Group/File)

CORNWALL – If a picture is worth a thousand words, getting pictures of private council meetings could cost taxpayers the dollar equivalent of seven-and-a-half pictures.

City council will decide Monday night whether to make upgrades to its audio and video equipment for recording council meetings.

The price tag? As much as $7,500.

But it would fulfill the new council’s mantra of transparency and accountability.

The move comes after a request in December from Coun. Andre Rivette to look at recording closed door meetings – a practice that was mysteriously abandoned in 2006.

A report for council Monday says there were problems with security in the past.

Officials couldn’t guarantee a private meeting wouldn’t accidentally slip out publicly on the city website, states the report.

But the city’s contractor, Neulion, says it has upgraded software – at an additional cost of $4,500 a year – which will securely capture in-camera meetings.

The other caveat with the new software. The city needs a new $2,000 wide-angled camera and another $1,000 to set it all up.

The report says the city doesn’t have to go with the new camera but the current lens doesn’t capture all the positions at the front of the council chambers at the same time (the camera has to be manually moved to who is speaking).

The previous council came under harsh criticism for holding too many closed door meetings.

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