With the city’s current broadcast equipment dated and in need of replacement, the Oakdale City Council approved the purchase of $75,000 in digital broadcast equipment at its Monday, Nov. 7 meeting.
According to Finance Director Albert Avila, the current equipment in use was purchased nearly 10 years ago and due to its age, as well as advances in technology, replacement is necessary to facilitate improved access to city council meetings both online and by cable television.
Avila added that the city’s computer that controls the broadcast systems failed last month. A temporary “work around” was installed to continue to record and broadcast the bi-monthly meetings on the Internet, but with the repair modification, there is no way to maintain the broadcasts on the city’s designated Comcast cable channel.
At the time of the failure the city was already in the process of requesting proposals for the video and audio recording equipment for the council chambers.
Avila said of the 10 vendors available, only one submitted a proposal. The one vendor that did submit a bid, Professional Video and Sound of Modesto, projected the total cost of replacement was around $120,000. The city’s budget for the project was in the $70 to $75,000 range.
Avila said since many of the other vendors were estimating a half-million to $1 million range for industry standard equipment, those didn’t bother to make bids.
The city worked with Professional Video and Sound and scaled back its request, going from seven cameras to four and smaller storage capacity of the system, and was able to get the first phase of equipment at $74,906.
“The first phase includes replacement of the cameras and the computer with digital equipment, which is the industry standard,” Avila said. “This enables the recording and broadcasting of the council meetings both online and via television. This also allows us to offer continuous broadcasting on Channel 7 of community events and information.”
Currently, Oakdale City Council meetings are only broadcast live, with City of Modesto meetings and advertising information broadcast over cable channel 7 at all other times. With the upgrade, Oakdale can maintain control of local programming on its public access cable channel.
Avila said Phase II of the project will have financing by early 2018 and includes the audio system, the HD television positioned in front of the council dais, the audio recording for the City Clerk and other peripheral equipment.
The cost of Phase II is around $18,000.
Financing for the conversion is covered from a one-percent public education-government access fee cable companies collect, approximately a one-percent surcharge, which is furnished to local governments and is restricted for government access programming.
Funding for both phases of the replacement comes from access fee revenue and has no impact to the city’s General Fund.
In other agenda items, the council approved city ordinance revisions for the Building Code and Fire Code and annexed the final vacant lots of the Bridle Ridge subdivision into the 2007 Community Facilities District to cover costs of city services for those homes.
City Manager Bryan Whitemyer told the council that with the annexation and new construction, the Bridle Ridge development should be finished by Fall of 2017.