Smithfield begins livestreaming meetings
Published 4:09 pm Wednesday, February 8, 2023
Feb. 7 marked the first time in Smithfield’s history that a Town Council meeting was livestreamed.
It won’t be the last time. Three tripods, each mounting a cellphone or iPad, will be a recurring sight at the governing body’s monthly meetings from now on.
The technology will allow anyone to watch a meeting as it’s happening from the comfort of their home or wherever they, and their internet-connected device, happen to be. To watch the meetings in real time, or after the fact, viewers should go to the “videos” tab on the town’s Facebook page at https://tinyurl.com/2p8pnjzj.
“Last election we heard loud and clear from the constituency that they wished to have these meetings livestreamed,” said Mayor Steve Bowman.
Bowman had campaigned last fall on a platform of increased transparency, as had fellow council newcomer Jeff Brooks, both of whom won their seats in the November election. All five candidates running for four available seats had agreed at a September forum to support live-streaming council meetings.
Brooks had again broached the issue in January. At that time, Town Manager Michael Stallings said he’d been waiting on a price quote from Isle of Wight County for equipment that would be similar to the on-demand system that records and archives videos of Board of Supervisors meetings.
Stallings, on Feb. 7, attributed the less-costly cellphone and tripod solution to Steve Clark of Smithfield’s Parks and Recreation Department. By using existing equipment in the town’s possession, the solution has to date cost the town nothing to implement, Stallings said.
Livestreaming, Brooks said in January, will “bring us into an era that we should have been in a long time ago.”