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Shelby Township

September 26, 2012

Township budgets funds to improve broadcast technology

By Brad D. Bates
C & G Staff Writer

SHELBY TOWNSHIP — Following a third consecutive board meeting with technical difficulties, Shelby Township is willing to open its purse strings to provide a clearer picture, and audio, into government.

Township Supervisor Richard Stathakis said there would be a $65,000 line item in the 2013 general fund budget to upgrade broadcast technology in the boardroom to better transmit meetings over the airwaves and Internet.

“We’ve put off buying new equipment in the boardroom, and we’ve been in the practice of putting Band-Aids on the problem,” Stathakis said. “The problems are more frequent now, though, and we’re at the point we’ve committed to buying new equipment, which is long overdue.”

Stathakis said the equipment would involve new video cameras, as well as new audio equipment used by Shelby TV.

“It is the way most of our residents get informed about Shelby Township, so we need a system that will clearly get that information to their homes,” Stathakis said of the broadcasts.

“(Cable television coordinator) John Martin is going to begin our process of searching for the most effective equipment.”

“We’ve had a series of issues that have caused the board to take a serious look at the situation,” Martin said of the problem. “We bought most of (the equipment) in 1993.”

In addition to audio and video problems during television broadcasts, there was an audio problem with the Internet broadcast of the Sept. 18 meeting in which the live audio feed was muted.

“That was a problem with the way they have the hookup to the Internet,” Martin said. “They have the signal going out from our tape deck, and the tape deck was malfunctioning and that’s what caused the low audio.”

Beyond the audio problem, there have also been delayed starts to recent meetings because of the Internet broadcast.

Martin said that while that problem is separate from the ongoing television broadcast issues, the new equipment would rectify it.

“The last two meetings, when the meetings have been late in starting, that doesn’t have anything to do with (Shelby TV),” Martin said. “That had to do with … encoding the meeting. The IT department had to reboot their equipment.”

“What we’re trying to do is, we’re trying to consolidate everything,” Martin added, noting the current system sends the Internet broadcast from his department through the IT department to a third-party company.

“Hopefully, when we do get all this new equipment put in, we’ll have the ability to send the signal out and encode it on the township’s website without using an outside company.”

Stathakis said that the search for new equipment would be done as soon as possible with installation as soon as the first quarter of 2013.

“We’ve pushed the envelop with this enough,” Stathakis said. “We need to get it done, but I’m glad we waited. With technology, it’s likely to be cheaper now than if we had done it five to eight years ago.”

You can reach C & G Staff Writer Brad D. Bates at bbates@candgnews.com or at (586)498-1029.