Look for the City Council to arrive in your own home in June.
After more than three years of cityhood, the council decided to spend the money necessary to provide television coverage of its meetings on local cable Channel 3. The council recently awarded $49,400 in contracts for a four-camera system with audio and videotaping equipment to be installed at City Hall.
"Now is an excellent time for this, with the city up and running," Mayor Mike Eggers said. "With many of the administrative tasks of setting up a city completed, now we are into some of the critical decisions that will help govern the city for decades to come. By cablecasting our meetings, it's going to open up how the city is run, even more than it is today, and it's another step in bringing local government to the citizens."
The equipment will not necessarily be limited to just City Council meetings, said John Donlevy, an assistant to the city manager who coordinates the cable television project.
"This could be used for more than just City Council meetings. If we have a hearing on the General Plan or a specific plan, or any kind of hearing on a hot topic, we'll be able to go live with it," he said.
However, the capability to transmit live meetings is not expected to be built into the local system until September or October, Donlevy said. Dimension Cable is now installing a new fiber-optic system that will allow it to transmit a television signal directly to Dana Point.
"The fiber-optic line will enable our meetings to go just to Dana Point," Donlevy said. "Otherwise, the meetings would have been broadcast all throughout the Dimension area, which stretches from Camp Pendleton to North Tustin."
Until the fall, the meetings will be videotaped and then broadcast "whenever they fit into the Dimension schedule," Donlevy said. Under the equipment installation contract, the city gave two companies up to 75 days to set up the system, which means it should be ready by June, he said.
City officials are also considering hiring a part-time consultant to act as producer of the council broadcasts, Donlevy said.