Tuesday’s Harford County Council meeting to be the first to be live streamed

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Too busy to attend Tuesday night’s Harford County Council meeting? Not a problem. The 7 p.m. meeting to be held at the A. A. Roberty Building will be the very first meeting to be live streamed at http://www.harfordcountymd.gov/Videos. If you have a computer, you can experience the workings of county government in real time from the comfort of your home or wherever else you might be. Tomorrow night’s debut live broadcast is scheduled to feature public hearings on the Agricultural Land Preservation Tax Credit, the Fallston Sanitary Subdistrict and the Master Water & Sewer Plan Spring 2011 Update. Also on tap are the introduction of a half dozen bills and the recognition of Donald and Betty Preston as Harford Living Treasures.

Click here to see the meeting’s full agenda: http://www.harfordcountymd.gov/WebLink8/0/doc/2549100/Page1.aspx. And if you’d prefer to watch the meeting at a time more convenient for you, just visit http://www.harfordcountymd.gov/Videos/ to see all the archived videos of earlier meetings.

Both the Harford County Board of Education and the Administrative Offices of Harford County Government are also expected to start using the live streaming technology to stream various meetings and events.

Here’s the county’s press release on the new technology:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: March 29, 2011Harford County Council to Begin Live Web Streaming of Meetings Technology to also be utilized by County Administration, Board of Education  (Bel Air, MD) – – The Harford County Council is pleased to announce that it will begin live online streaming of its public meetings beginning Tuesday, April 5, 2011.  Citizens will now be able to access a live feed of  County Council proceedings from their personal computers.  It will also be possible to view archived footage from previous meetings and skip ahead to items of interest using link-enabled meeting agendas. Citizens can access the videos and accompanying documents by logging on to http://www.harfordcountymd.gov/Videos.  The webcasting capability is made possible through a partnership between the County Council, the Office of the County Executive, the Board of Education, and Harford Cable Network.   “The County Council felt that by improving accessibility to the legislative process in action we could create more opportunities for our constituents to become involved,” stated Council President Billy Boniface. “We hear far too often that citizens feel disconnected from their government and that decisions are made without any public input. While all of the Council’s meetings are open to the public, we realize for many it is difficult to attend. Now they’ll be able to watch from home on their computers either live or at a more convenient time.”    County Council meetings will continue to be rebroadcast on Harford Cable Network for residents with access to the channel through their cable provider. In addition to the County Council, the Board of Education will utilize the webcasting technology for its public meetings, and the Administrative Offices of Harford County Government will use it to stream various meetings and events.  All will be available through the same integrated portal.     “We are grateful to the County Council and County Executive for the partnership with this communication project in allowing us to utilize the new live-streaming technology,” said Board of Education President Mark M. Wolkow.  “The ability to live stream our Board meetings will assist us in reaching our goal of providing timely, accurate information to all of our families regarding important Board decisions without them having to adjust their busy schedules or even leave their homes.” “The real-time nature of the live streaming capabilities will allow us to engage our parents with the utmost transparency,” said Superintendent of Schools Robert M. Tomback. “The Board meetings will continue to air on Harford Cable Network, while this technology will allow us an additional vehicle to communicate the key decision-making process that affects all students, staff, and the community-at-large.” Commenting on the County’s new webcasting capabilities, County Executive David R. Craig stated, “I am happy to partner with Council President Boniface and the County Council to provide the public with this technology, as it will offer greater transparency and accessibility to government proceedings.  This initiative shows how different entities of government can successfully work together and share resources in ways that are beneficial to our citizens, which is something that we are making an effort to do more and more.”   To offer this service, the County has collaborated with the San Francisco-based company Granicus, which hosts the world’s largest government-exclusive webcasting network, streaming over 27 million webcasts and serving more than 750 clients spanning all 50 states.  It offers the first cloud platform and product suites designed specifically to help government agencies establish meaningful connections with citizens. For more information or to access videos, log on to http://www.harfordcountymd.gov/Videos.