The chambers of the Carmel City Council are under renovation to upgrade audio visual equipment and replace carpets. The second floor meeting room in City Hall, which also is used by the Carmel Plan Commission, is closed until early 2018. As a result, meetings have been held at the Monon Community Center and the Carmel Clay Schools Educational Services Center.
According to budget documents, a capital lease of more than $360,000 is funding the upgraded audio video equipment, which means that the city will make payments until Jan. 15, 2022, including $19,000 in remaining interest. The cost only includes the audio video equipment and does not include the cost for replacing carpeting ($73,710), rebuilding the dais ($81,550) and project management fees ($106,000), according to figures provided by the Carmel Clerk Treasurer’s Office.
The project began in October and should be complete in the first quarter of 2018.
City Council President Sue Finkam said the upgrade was needed because the council was working with old technology and the upgrades will allow for a better viewing experience for the public watching at home or on a computer. Meetings will be stored reliably on new servers and a new streaming system will be used for videos, which will allow the public to easily watch past meetings. She said there have been some technology problems recently with the older system, and if people can’t watch live or past meetings, then that affects transparency.
“We want the public to have easy access to these meetings,” she said.
Carmel Mayor Jim Brainard said the upgrades were long overdue.
“There have been very little upgrades in the system since they were installed in the 1980s,” he said. “Technology has moved forward a lot, and it’s important for the public, for transparency’s sake, to be able to stream video, and the quality is sufficient and the audio can be easily heard.”