The Ventura City Council Monday approved a $215,000 upgrade of the council chamber's sound system and television cameras, part of a new public awareness program.
City Clerk Barbara J. Kam said the sound system now in the council chamber is 21 years old and rapidly failing. However, the new audio-visual system will do more than end the era of broken microphones.
It will add four new remote-controlled cameras to replace the single, hand-operated one that currently broadcasts council meetings into the homes of cable television viewers.
Backers of the expenditures said the city's success depends on an involved, informed public. "I view this as a pro-democratic move," Councilman Stephen Bennett said.
But others said the money could be better spent on other programs. "The amount of $215,000 really seems outrageous," Councilman Jim Monahan said.