Young County Commissioners want members of the public to be more involved in their day-to-day business. So like most others looking to increase exposure, they’ve looked to the internet.
Commissioners’ Court can now be viewed online. It’s not live or streaming, but its home is a place most internet users are already well acquainted with.
They have a YouTube channel named “Young County” with complete videos of two meetings so far. The most recent video from the Sept. 3 meeting went online Thursday afternoon. The previous meeting has been up since Aug. 27 and has been viewed 42 times as of this writing.
County officials are pleased with those numbers.
“If we just get 20 people, that’s 20 people that wouldn’t have seen it otherwise,” said Precinct 1 Commissioner Mike Sipes.
County IT Director Eric Steadham is the man responsible for shooting, editing and uploading the video of the county meetings. He said it takes about a day’s time to get the videos up, but he’s glad to do it.
“It gives normal, work-a-day people the opportunity to sit in at their convenience,” Steadham said.
Though the videos won’t be a thrill a minute, Steadham said he has good reason for not cutting out the particularly slow parts.
“I don’t want anyone to think we’re trying to hide anything, so it’s all there,” he said.
But he does put some work into improving the audio and adding graphics that display the vital elements of each meeting: the issue at hand, who made the motion, the second and each court member’s vote.
The equipment and software set the county back about $4,000, but after having looked at other more costly options, Sipes feels that’s a fair price for making government more accessible and accountable.
“It provides the transparency that I think people should want,” Sipes said. “I think it will go a long way to cleaning up our language; making it more concise. I think our decorum will be more polished. Commissioners will have to stop and think before they speak.”
He said for those interested county residents who can’t make it to a weekday morning meeting, the videos are a way to increase their knowledge of county functions.
“I see this as an enhancement to the newspaper,” Sipes said. “They read the account in the newspaper because it’s quick and concise and it’s what they’re used to. Then if there’s something they don’t understand they can watch the video.”