NL council contemplates ending livestream of meetings on Facebook

By Gretchen Teske, Mt. Pleasant News


NEW LONDON ? A lively discussion ensued at the New London city council meeting Tuesday night as members discussed continuing to livestream their meetings on the city?s Facebook page. The conversation began after unfavoring comments were left on the videos.

City Clerk, Kasi Howard, said there wasn?t one particularly nasty comment that sparked the conversation, but each video published to the social media site generates a ?whole lot of negativity toward the city.?

On the video posted March 6, one user commented, ?I like how Kurt Miller loves to raise taxes and stuff he still lives with mommy and daddy!! We need to kick a few more off the council.? Another user replied, ?I don?t even live in NL any longer... and I know Kirk Miller does not live with his mother and even better I know his name!!?

Council member Tom Davis wanted to continue the livestreams to ensure transparency between the council and the community. ?I am totally against doing away with this,? he said. ?A lot of people have been getting more interested in city government.?

Mayor Ron Sadler disagreed with the comment adding, ?All we?re getting is bad vibes.? Council member Kirk Miller agreed with that statement. ?It seems like it stirs up a lot of negative stuff our town does not need,? he said.

MIiller did note citizens reserve the right by law to record government meetings.

Council member Dan Berner spoke up in favor of continuing to film saying it provides opportunity for those who are unable to be physically present to remain involved. ?There?s good and there?s bad, but my mom watches it and does get involved with it,? he said. ?There are a few people making comments, it is true, but we are a democracy, and we don?t all agree.?

Davis echoed this statement saying, ?Over the years there?s been a gap with citizens and the city government and I think this kind of brings it together. If people write in about that, I think we should listen to them.?

Miller then raised the question about funding the project. The council is set to hold their meetings in the new community center building, which does not currently have internet access. Another complaint of Facebook Live commenters is the sound quality. Miller questioned the need for purchasing the equipment. ?What is best for our town?? he asked. ?I think a lot of them watch it to see the circus that?s going on. We need to look at that cost before we make any decisions.?

The conversation was tabled until cost estimates could be produced.

There were no bids for the sale of the community hall at 106 N. Division St. The council decided to continue to try and sell the property and will look at bids for demolition if no progress is made by the next meeting. In regards to the new community hall at 103 W. Washington St., a policy and rental fee was discussed. Sadler suggested City Clerk Kasi Howard call area community halls and base pricing accordingly.

Likewise, the council discussed constructing a sidewalk for the Dollar General store. The discussion then turned into a projected idea to lay sidewalk around the permitter of the park. No decision was reached at this time. Talk of the park continued as movies in the park were brought up to be scheduled for summer. Howard suggested looking into purchasing equipment for future use, instead of renting. Council member Henderson suggested contacting the school to borrow theirs. The conversation was tabled until next meeting.

Other business:

? Approved a temporary closing of a public street for a fun day on June 9. A bike parade is scheduled to take place that morning.

? Approved reinvesting capital improvement funds into CDs.

? Approved new decals for the police department?s 2018 Chevy Tahoe.

? A wage increase of three percent will take place of all city officials effective July 1.

The next meeting of the New London City Council will be on Thursday, June 5, at 6 p.m. in the city office.