Once the bugs get worked out, the regular meetings of the Hope Mills Board of Commissioners will be coming to a television set near you.
At a March meeting of the board, the commissioners voted unanimously to start a trial run beginning with the March 19 meeting and continuing until June to show tape-delayed broadcasts of their meetings.
Mayor Pro Tem Mike Mitchell, who made the motion to start the broadcasts, said the idea had been discussed by the board on previous occasions but voted down for various reasons.
“This time we are partnering with the city of Fayetteville,’’ he said.
Fayetteville agreed to air the Hope Mills meetings at no charge during the current budget year to allow Hope Mills to give the plan a test and see if it’s worth the investment.
If the town likes what it sees, the cost to air meetings on the Fayetteville Government Access Channel, Channel 7 on Spectrum TV, will be $15,264 for a year.
Mitchell said the tape-delayed broadcast would air on Wednesday each week, two days after the scheduled board meeting, from 6-10 p.m. If the meeting doesn’t fill the full four hours, Mitchell said the town could possibly run infomercials about the town in the leftover time.
Mitchell likes the idea of airing the board meetings for a number of reasons.
“It’s a convenience factor,’’ he said. “We have a lot of seniors and disabled who have trouble driving at night or getting out of the house. This gives them the ability to know what’s going on in the town with the information provided in our meetings.’’
Mitchell doesn’t think having the commissioners on camera will cause the board to change anything about the way it does business.
“The current board seems to be working well together,’’ he said. “We don’t always agree, but we agree to disagree. We don’t hold grudges or anything like that. We respect each other’s opinions about what the constituents might want.
“Once a motion is made and approved, we get behind it whether we voted for or against it.’’
Deborah Holland, the town’s interim clerk, said one camera angle will be used to capture the images seen on the broadcasts. The camera will be directed at board members and possibly the town attorney and town manager, she said. “Hopefully we’ll be able to capture any Power Points up on the screen,’’ she said.
The lone camera will be mounted in a corner of the board meeting room, and no one will be operating it once the meeting starts. “We’re just taking baby steps here,’’ she said.
Holland said they’ve tried some practice runs and still have a few bugs to work out of the process. “If we’re satisfied with that, we’ll go with the taped broadcast,’’ she said.
The town has been doing audio recordings of the board meetings dating back to 2016 that are posted on the town of Hope Mills website. Holland said the video recordings won’t be loaded to the website, but the audio recordings will continue and still be posted there.