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Paradise Valley council meetings to be streamed online
Paradise Valley Town Clerk Duncan Miller looks on as a recent public safety task force meeting is recorded. Video replays are available at the town's website. (File photo)

Residents of Paradise Valley as soon as next month will be able to keep tabs on their local government in the comfort of their own homes when town council meetings begin to be recorded and streamed online.

Paradise Valley Town Council last January, amongst a bevy of technological updates in terms of record management and retention, opted to begin recording and streaming online meetings of the Paradise Valley Planning Commission.

When the Paradise Valley Public Safety Task Force was formed to quell fears harbored by residents following a rash of yet-to-solved home burglaries, its meetings, too, were recorded and made available via the Internet.

“As of today, only planning commission and public safety task force meeting videos are available live and on-demand,” Town Clerk Duncan Miller said in a May 13 written response to e-mailed questions. “The goal is to have the on-demand videos online by the end of the following business day.”

The idea is to now give the Paradise Valley Town Council the same treatment and that could happen as early as next month.

“You can tell how many people watch the events because of the way the technology has been set up,” Paradise Valley Mayor Scott LeMarr said in a May 14 phone interview. “Based on those numbers it is not a widely used service by our community.”

In fiscal year 2012-13, the Town of Paradise Valley entered into a contract -- to the tune of $149,000 -- with SIRE Technologies for comprehensive records management,.Among other things, the agreement included the ability to host videos and records on the company’s external server, according to Mr. Miller.

Paradise Valley Town Council is expected to be provided an update on the program’s effectiveness over the last five months and possible next steps for additional video recording and streaming.

The meeting is at Town Hall, 6401 E. Lincoln Drive.

Paradise Valley Councilwoman Pam Kirby says there is no reason town council should not be a part of the streaming mix.

“I have not heard any community feedback, but I fully support it because of the transparency it brings,” she said in a May 14 phone interview. “I was fully in support of (streaming council meetings) back in December.”

For Councilwoman Kirby it is more about open government than it is convenience.

“It can be construed as a service the night of the meeting; we all have this thing called life that gets in the way,” she pointed out of the schedules of the 21st Century Paradise Valley resident.

“It speaks to transparency for me from the perspective that every council person’s words are immortalized for as long as the videos are archived.”

Councilwoman Kirby, who also serves as the Scottsdale Unified School District Governing Board president, points out constituents within SUSD boundaries find the taping and streaming of those meetings invaluable.

“They (parents) do use it when something of interest crosses their plate,” she said. “For myself, being videotaped, I feel no different.”

Mayor LeMarr says he expects Paradise Valley Town Council meetings to be available on the Internet in a short time.

“I view it as a way of residents being better connected,” he said. “I think our government is very transparent. If you go to the work study discussions we have very candid conversations -- I think if there is something you want to know you can find out in Paradise Valley.”

News Editor Terrance Thornton can be contacted at 623-445-2774 via e-mail at tthornton@newszap.com or follow him at www.twitter.com/nvnewsman

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