Council Meetings Could Play Live On 'Net

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Payson Town Council meetings and other town events will be available live on the Internet, if the council approves the purchase of streaming software and authorizes a service agreement with the company that developed the system, Granicus Streaming Media Solutions, at its regular meeting at 6 p.m. Thursday at town hall.

"Today Payson, tomorrow the world," Town Manager Fred Carpenter said. "What's going to happen is you're going to be able to watch council meetings, ‘TOP Talk,' and anything we produce over the Internet when this is all done. Say you're researching a story and you wanted to see something that happened at a meeting six months ago, you'll be able to go there, pull it up, and watch that meeting again. This is pretty high-tech stuff."

Carpenter said the cost of the service -- an initial $23,000 plus a $750 monthly management fee -- will be paid primarily out of money received from CableVision through its agreement with the town.

"We're getting a lot of the money from this 1-percent increase in your cable fees," Carpenter said.

Council meetings are currently broadcast on Channel 4, the local public access channel, but are unavailable for satellite users and other non-cable subscribers.

Channel 4 will continue to broadcast council meetings and other town events. In fact, the Channel 4 feed will probably be used for the Internet telecast.

The streaming service also will allow people to access and print meeting agendas, view previous council meetings, and access video archives by agenda item.

The service will be incorporated into the town's website.

Other business

Also on the council agenda Thursday evening are two presentations by town staff. Fire Chief Marty de Masi will provide the council with a progress update on the Community Wildfire Protection Plan for Northern Gila County.

The plan will be submitted to the U.S. Government in hopes of securing some of the $720 million in funding available each year under the Healthy Forest Restoration Act. It will incorporate current forest thinning projects such as the Regional Payson Area Project (RPAP) and the Payson Wildland Urban Interface Project.

Consent

On the consent agenda, the council will be asked to grant Tischler and Associates a 90-day contract extension to complete a three-part study of the proposed American Gulch Plan to determine the fiscal feasibility of the project.

The American Gulch Plan would create a 200-foot-wide channel running from Sawmill Crossing to Green Valley Park.

"It would really create a people place," Green Valley Redevelopment Committee Chairperson Blair Meggitt told a recent council meeting. "We want to see shops, restaurants, artisan's galleries, night life, park activities, cycling, walking, street parties."

But while the plan can be considered a "multi-objective project," Andy Romance of Highline Engineering pointed out that its "backbone is the drainage."

The proposed channel would use just 12 acres from the 38-acre floodplain, effectively freeing 26 acres for new development. The American Gulch area runs parallel to and on the south side of Main Street with a southern boundary of Aero Drive.

Total cost of the project, including necessary land acquisition and channel construction, is estimated at $4.8 million. Because of its price tag, the Green Valley Redevelopment Committee proposed the feasibility study currently at issue.

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