The Oswego City mayor’s office has entered into an agreement with the Oswego High School to televise the common council and city committee meetings.
The high school’s TV station, WBUC, will broadcast the common council meetings, which take place every second and fourth Monday of the month at 7:30 p.m. They will also air the committee meetings, which are every first and third Monday at 6:30 p.m.
Mayor William Barlow said that the meetings used to be televised, but that ended. He said televising the meetings was something he wanted to bring back to the community ever since he took office in 2015.
“I believe it’s important for local government especially to be as transparent as possible, and I think one of the easiest ways to be transparent is to improve the accessibility to local elected officials and to the process that is local government,” Barlow said. “So bringing the committee meetings and common council meetings on TV allows people to watch city government work, to see how things unfold and to see how issues come to light through the committee and council process.”
Barlow said he believes that televising the meetings will provide more opportunity for people to be informed. He also said that because not as many people can make it to the meetings in person, this will allow more people to see the meetings.
Barlow said he had one problem with implementing his idea: making it cost effective for the city. After talking with the director of technology, Jamie Sykut, and working with the superintendent, Barlow said the plan worked itself out.
Matthew Bock, who oversees the TV studio, said the cooperation between the city and the station has been exciting.
“It’s a great way for the TV studio as well as the school district to work with the city,” Bock said. “It’s one of my goals, one of our goals in the TV studio this year, to kind of spread our wings a little bit more outside of just the high school here and do more with the community and the city as a whole. I think this is a great way to kind of start that off and, you know, get that rolling.”
On Sept. 28, WBUC aired the first common council meeting. On Monday, the city recorded its first committee meeting and gave it to the station for a student director to edit and air. Barlow said late notice was given about the partnership, but he believes in coming weeks people will feel more inclined to have a voice in the community.
“I do think that we will receive more feedback on any given issue because more people will be aware of what’s going on,” Barlow said. “A lot of times I think people, by the time they read about something online or in the newspaper, they feel it’s already too late to have their voice heard, as if the actions already been taken.”
Barlow said he thinks that if people can see that an issue is being debated by the council, they will be more likely to get involved in the process.
The meetings air every Thursday at 5 p.m. on channel 16 and continue on a loop throughout the weekend.
Photo: Taylor Woods | The Oswegonian