Polk to look at taping meetings

Published 8:00 am Thursday, July 19, 2018

Resident who livestreams meetings asks county to begin recording hearings

COLUMBUS — A Polk County resident who has been livestreaming Polk County Board of Commissioners meetings made another request for the county to begin videotaping its hearings for residents who cannot attend.

Michael Veatch spoke during citizen comments at Monday’s county meeting, and said residents yell at him because his video quality is not professional. Veatch has recently been using the Facebook Live service to livestream county meetings.

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Veatch livestreams the meetings with a tablet, and posts them on the Facebook page “Our Polk County, NC.”

Veatch has asked residents through the page to contact county officials if they think it would be helpful to have board of commissioners and other public hearings videotaped professionally.

“I’m not getting paid enough,” Veatch told commissioners Monday. “We’ve got two guys over here [with Polk County] who are getting paid. It doesn’t take anything.”

Veatch asked for a consensus from the board to start videotaping the meetings.

County Manager Marche Pittman said he has looked into the idea and what other counties do, and said it would cost Polk significantly.

Veatch said the county could just livestream its meetings, like he does.

“You’ve got great internet,” Veatch said.

Commissioner Chair Jake Johnson said he would want the video to be more than livestreaming on social media. Johnson said he would want an actual camera.

“We’ll continue to look at it,” Johnson told Veatch. “I’d like for it to link to our microphones.”

Johnson said he wants people to be able to clearly hear what is being said, and agreed the county will look at what others are doing.

Polk commissioners meet the first and third Mondays of the month at 7 p.m.

The county does audiotape its meetings, but they are not stored on the web for long periods of time. Residents can hear the last meeting by going to polknc.org and going to the “meeting audio” tab.

The audio of meetings is not livestreamed, and take several days to appear on the county’s website.

As of Wednesday morning, Monday’s meeting audio was not available on the website.

The town of Tryon has also discussed video for its meetings,  but no local government has provided that service yet.