Council discusses videoconferencing in meetings

Cedar Park City Council on May 8 discussed how to address legal requirements and technical challenges that would impede City Council members from joining special-called meetings remotely by video.

Place 3 Councilman Lyle Grimes said he supports Cedar Park pursuing the idea once the city has an estimate for equipment costs. Place 5 Councilman Jon Lux said City Council may want to wait until another government tries the method first.

"Being on the leading edge is always expensive," Lux said.

Assistant City Manager Josh Selleck said that if City Council wants to explore the concept, city staffers recommend the city determine the cost of equipment that also complies with requirements from the Texas Department of Information Resources, which oversees management of state and local governments' information and communications technologies. He said staffers also recommend City Council work with an attorney to create rules and protocols for videoconferencing in meetings.

Two Texas Legislature bills passed last year—House Bill 2414 and Senate Bill 984—regulate videoconferencing in meetings that are subject to open-records law, such as City Council. The bills are in some ways inconsistent, yet a city council needs to comply with both sets of rules, Selleck said.

City staffers researched how other governing board members meet electronically, such as the Pedernales Electric Cooperative. But PEC's directors can call in by phone and not video, and the board is not subject to the Texas Open Meetings Act, Selleck said.

In accordance with both state laws, a meeting that some city council members attend by video must have a primary meeting location in the state where members are physically present to form a quorum. Selleck said organizers must ensure the site is open to the public. At the meeting, members of the public must be able to join in and be seen and heard on the video feed as easily as City Council members, he said.

City staffers discussed technical challenges with the Texas Municipal League, Selleck said. The city must keep the video streaming during the entire meeting to ensure compliance with both state laws. A lost video connection would force City Council to recess for up to six hours until the link is restored. Without a restored connection the meeting would be have to be adjourned, he said.

Selleck said City Council also needs to establish meeting protocols to address the possibilities of video feed lag and crosstalk.

Mayor Matt Powell said he has enjoyed using video to attend classes. Video helps an offsite participant communicate by hearing as well as seeing other attenders, he said.

"I would like to see us proceed with getting a cost estimate on it," Powell said. "But I would encourage the staff to be creative with this."



(Courtesy Casamigos)
Casamigos Tex-Mex plans to open in Leander by Nov. 22

Casamigos Tex-Mex plans to be open by Nov. 22, according to restaurant owner Christoper Rodriguez.

The Bell Boulevard realignment project will relocate the stretch of Bell Boulevard between Buttercup Creek Boulevard and Cedar Park Drive to the alignment of Old Highway 183. (Marisa Charpentier/Community Impact Newspaper)
Cedar Park moves forward with Bell Boulevard realignment utility relocation

The Bell Boulevard realignment project in Cedar Park is going to require a substantial utility relocation.

Greg Kelley, a former Leander High School student whose 2014 conviction was recently overturned, told members of the press after the Cedar Park City Council meeting Nov. 14 that he wants the Cedar Park police chief and sergeant who worked on his case to be held accountable for what happened to him. (Marisa Charpentier/Community Impact Newspaper.
Greg Kelley supporters address Cedar Park City Council, call for police department accountability

After his conviction was overturned Nov. 6, Greg Kelley and his supporters attended a Cedar Park City Council meeting Nov. 14.

Lady Bird Lake at Congress Avenue in Austin. Since late July, parts of the lake have been off limits due to high concentrations of toxic "blue-green" algae. (Courtesy Miguel Gutierrez Jr./The Texas Tribune)
Toxic algae blooms are becoming more common, scientists say

Months have passed, but the capital city still has signs up warning of ongoing dangerous conditions in Lady Bird Lake.

Driver's Edge Complete Tire and Auto Service, at 3510 Lakeline Blvd., Leander, is now Lamb's Tire and Automotive. (Courtesy Wikimedia Commons)
Leander vehicle service business changes name to Lamb's Tire and Auto

Driver's Edge Complete Tire and Auto Service, at 3510 Lakeline Blvd., Leander, is now Lamb's Tire and Automotive

Crews work on updating a section of I-35 in Central Texas (Courtesy TxDOT)
Central Texas transportation agencies investing millions in I-35 for new lanes, intersection improvements aimed at aiding mobility

About 20 miles of I-35 through Central Texas will see an infusion of $400 million in state and federal funding to add one to two additional lanes in an effort to improve mobility.

Savvy Chix Studio offers sewing classes for kids and adults. (Courtesy Savvy Chix Studio)
Savvy Chix Studio now offering sewing classes in Leander area

Savvy Chix Studio opened in Leander on Oct. 30.

Leander Middle School Principal Mark Koller is pictured in the LMS dance studio in this August file photo. (Brian Perdue/Community Impact Newspaper)
Koller hired as principal at new Danielson Middle School

The Leander ISD board of trustees has hired Mark Koller as the first principal at Danielson Middle School.

Deece Eckstein at the Nov. 12 Travis County Commissioners Court meeting
Travis County intergovernmental relations officer announces retirement, triggers "aggressive" hiring schedule

Deece Eckstein, Travis County's inaugural intergovernmental relations officer, will retire at the end of the year.

Collectors Crossroads is opening in the Lakeline Plaza Shopping Center on Nov. 22. (Courtesy Collectors Crossroads)
Pinballz owner to open collectibles shop in Lakeline Plaza

Collectors Crossroads is opening in the Lakeline Plaza Shopping Center on Nov. 22.

MaidPro North Austin is now located in the Silver Spur Business Park in Cedar Park. (Marisa Charpentier/Community Impact Newspaper)
MaidPro North Austin relocates from Leander to Cedar Park

MaidPro North Austin is a professional home cleaning service.

Back to top