While there are a host of serious issues facing Chemung County right now, two require special attention. First, the economic predictions for Chemung County brought on by COVID-19 are dire and will necessitate some very hard decisions when local officials begin preparing the 2021 budget this fall.
Second, the Chemung County Legislature’s Multi Services Committee will vote on measure to provide live-streaming at all meetings of the Legislature, something that can be done at an exceedingly minimal cost and will go a long way toward promoting transparency for our community.
Dire Economic Predictions
Chemung County, like many communities across the United States, faces an increasingly uncertain economic future. New York State’s Association of Counties published an updated report setting forth its economic predictions at the end of last week. A copy of the report can be found here and is also embedded below.
Several charts are particularly interesting as they begin to show the scale and breadth of what looks to be a looming economic crisis for New York State.
Live-streaming in Chemung County
As opposed to the issue of economic problems facing Chemung County that will require a lot of very hard work and thoughtfulness to address, the issue of live-streaming is extremely straightforward.
I have been voluntarily live-streaming meetings of the Chemung County Legislature since I was sworn in at the start of January, 2019 with the belief Chemung County would begin providing live-streaming services soon thereafter. Even though the audio and visual quality of my recordings was not always the best, many members of the public quickly expressed their desire to continue having access to live meetings, and I saw firsthand how much governmental transparency is enhanced when live-streaming is used.
Last year Chemung County Executive Chris Moss was able to secure a grant to purchase live-streaming hardware that could be installed in several locations across Chemung County. He offered the Legislature an opportunity to install equipment in its chambers, but no action was taken until February when a “Live-Stream Committee” was formed. I volunteered to serve as its chairperson.
After meeting twice this spring, our committee submitted a report and draft policy to Legislative Chairperson Dave Manchester. The committee unanimously agrees to contents of the the report and draft policy, and also unanimously proposes that the Buildings and Grounds Committee vote on the policy as it largely relates to building infrastructure. Copies of the report and draft policy are embedded below.
However, the policy will instead come before the Multi-Services Committee tonight.
There is no reason for the Legislature to refrain from adopting this policy. The total additional cost will be $2,000 to install two “kill-switches”, devices akin to fire alarms that can be used to stop live-streaming immediately if necessary. Recent developments in technology have made services like this an expectation. A vote of “no” against this policy would be a step in the wrong direction for Chemung County.