EP mayor trying to find ways to improve audio for virtual meetings
EAST PALESTINE — Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many municipalities have had to find creative ways to hold council meetings, while allowing the public to access them electronically. The village of East Palestine has attempted to use multiple formats, including Zoom and Facebook Live, to allow the public to view the meetings in real time.
However, due to technological difficulties, the village has had a tough time delivering clear audio to viewers. Because of this, village council discussed an alternative way to hold meetings open to the public at last week’s council meeting.
Mayor Trent Conaway has received many questions from the public regarding the issue, and Conaway believes that holding the meetings in a larger facility would fix the problem.
“I’ve had a couple questions about opening up the council meetings again to the public,” Conaway said. “If we move to a bigger facility, we can spread out and have social distancing so the public can be involved.”
Councilman Alan Cohen was in favor of allowing the public back into the meetings, as he said they should have opportunity to participate.
“No matter how we’ve tried to do it, with the Zoom or with the Facebook, we’ve run into problems,” Cohen said. “If there’s a way that we can figure out how to go to the community center for example, we should look into that.”
Cohen mentioned that while they don’t want to go against the law, there are many circumstances where people are gathering for less important reasons than to attend a government meeting.
“If people can gather to have dinner together in one room, they should be able to attend a government function,” Cohen said. “I’m not saying we should go outside the law. I’m just upset that the people can’t be here.”
The rest of council agreed to holding the meetings at a bigger venue as long as they remain in compliance with the governor’s orders.
The next regularly scheduled meeting will be set for 7 p.m. Sept. 28 at the park community center, and it is open to the public.