Katy City Council considers livestreaming open meetings

The city of Katy may soon make local government meetings more accessible to the public.

In an effort to increase transparency, Katy City Council is considering livestreaming its meetings and making them available on the city website for residents who are interested in the political process and unable to attend.

Council Member Frank O. Carroll put the item on the agenda for the June 17 meeting to begin discussions on the matter. He said the city of Katy is behind compared to other entities that already record their meetings, including Fulshear City Council, Houston City Council and Katy ISD.

“Everyone has done it, so we don’t have to reinvent the system,” he said.

Because the city of Katy has fewer than 50,000 people, it is not required to record its meetings, according to state law.

Mayor Bill Hastings said he can see pros and cons to recording meetings, and the council must discuss the legality of recording any committees outside of City Council and the cost.

A transparent government

Carroll said the main reason for his proposal is to increase transparency, which Heritage Park West resident Michael Meihls said he supports.

“[Recording council meetings] absolutely needs to happen,” he said. “There should be nothing to hide, and this way residents can be informed if they can’t be involved.”

The city of Fulshear has about 11,000 fewer residents than the city of Katy and has been livestreaming its council meetings since August 2018.

“We wanted to make sure we were very transparent, so we budgeted it in to make it happen,” Fulshear police Capt. Michael McCoy said.

Fulshear has a contract through Dallas-based Swagit Productions LLC to provide the city’s livestreaming services, McCoy said.

“[Fulshear] only records entities that hold meetings at the Irene Stern Center, where the cameras are installed,” he said.

Fulshear did not need to spend money on hiring additional staff because the cost for the service is factored in, he said. Swagit staff remotely control the cameras inside the Irene Stern Center, where City Council meetings are held monthly.

The city of Fulshear and Swagit could not provide estimates for the cost of each entity’s service, and the investment costs for the city of Katy have not yet been calculated.

City Administrator Byron Hebert said at the June 22 meeting that it would be a long journey before council meetings could be recorded. He said the city secretary’s office is looking into the logistics behind doing so.

“It’s hard to be against more government transparency, and that is what this is ultimately about,” Carroll said. “I also want to reach more people.”


Eliz Markowitz and Gary Gates received the most votes in the race for state House District 28, and they will advance to a runoff election.
Texas House District 28 runoff special election date set for Jan. 28

Democrat Eliz Markowitz and Republican Gary Gates will be on the ballot.

At the annual State of the County address Nov. 15, County Judge Lina Hidalgo spoke on several initiatives launched in 2019, including criminal justice reform and emergency recovery, among other topics. (Shawn Arrajj/Community Impact Newspaper)
Lina Hidalgo reflects on boundary-pushing first year in State of the County address

Early childhood development will be major focus of 2020, Hidalgo said.

Tropical Diner West
At Tropical Diner West in Katy, Jamaican couple shares food, culture across national borders

"The same meal we would put on the table for our family is what we present to our customers.”

From left: co-owers Deb Haring, Angie McClelland and Robin Ebrecht opened Yaya Club Clothing in November 2018. (Jen Para/Community Impact Newspaper)
Katy boutique Yaya Club Clothing sells women’s fashion, teaches style to all

“My parents always told me, ‘Look good, you feel good, there’s a chance you might act good.'"

Candidates are gearing up for the 2020 elections. (Courtesy Element5 Digital/Pexels)
2020 primaries: Here's who has filed for Katy-area county races

On March 3, citizens in the Katy area can head to polling centers to cast a vote in the primaries, which includes several races in local counties.

Willow Fork of Buffalo Bayou, which runs from the city of Katy to Cinco Ranch and inside Barker Reservoir., includes a main channel and diversion channel. Both channels are undergoing desilting projects. (Courtesy Wendy Duncan)
Willow Fork of Buffalo Bayou: Desilting of main channel finishes; Phase 2 of desilting diversion channel begins

Work is progressing on desilting the Willow Fork of Buffalo Bayou, which runs from the city of Katy to Cinco Ranch and inside Barker Reservoir.

DaddyO’s Pizza opened a new location in Katy. (Courtesy DaddyO's Pizza)
DaddyO’s Pizza opens in Katy area on Peek Road

The restaurant offers a menu of pizza, calzones, subs, wings, pastas and salad.

Big Z’s Pizza House & Brew opened in Katy. (Courtesy Big Z’s Pizza House & Brew)
Big Z’s Pizza House & Brew opens in Katy area

The restaurant’s menu is made from scratch and includes Chicago fare

Elevate Hair Salon is coming soon to Katy. (Courtesy Elevate Hair Salon)
Elevate Hair Salon eyes December opening in Katy

The business is located on FM 1463.

Title Boxing Club Katy opened in Katy. (Courtesy Title Boxing Club Katy)
Title Boxing Club Katy opens on Westheimer Parkway

The gym offers boxing, kickboxing and mixed martial arts classes.

In a split 3-2 vote, the Harris County Commissioners Court passed a nonbinding resolution in favor of legislation requiring universal background checks for all Texas firearm sales, including those involving an unlicensed gun dealer and stranger-to-stranger gun sales, at its Nov. 12 meeting. (Courtesy Fotolia)
In split vote, Harris County approves resolution supporting universal background checks for all Texas firearm sales

The nonbinding resolution's passing demonstrated the court's support of legislation requiring universal background checks for all gun sales in the state, including those involving an unlicensed gun dealer and stranger-to-stranger gun sales.

Back to top