Manasquan Council Puts TV Scheduler To Bed
Meetings won't be aired on television this year, despite councilwoman's calls
Manasquan's governing body on Monday voted 5-1 to table discussion on the purchase of a $12,000 video scheduler that would have been instrumental in airing Borough Council meetings on the town's public access TV station.
Republican Councilwoman Patricia Connolly's year-long effort to videotape and air council meetings was stymied by her fellow council members, who said sound quality issues with prior test recordings were hampering progress on the proposal to televise meetings.
Despite the Board of Education's recent rejection of a proposal to split the cost of the equipment, Connolly on Monday pushed the issue during the governing body's work session, but to no avail, as the issue was tabled and most likely put to bed until at least next year.
Members, however, did say they were open to spending $4,000 on new microphones to fix the supposed audio problems as a first step toward eventually televising meetings.
"If everybody has a microphone I think that will go a long way toward televising the meetings," Democratic Councilman Owen McCarthy said. "I think our long-term goal should be trying to televise them."
Connolly, however, said that she never experienced the same audio quality issues as her fellow members did with previous test recordings.
"I put them on my TV at home. I heard them, I saw them. I don't know what the problem is with everyone else," Connolly said. "I think we're losing a very valuable means of communication."
For several months audio issues have surrounded the discussion on televising meetings, but some officials seem to be in no rush to air the meetings.
"I think we should put this to sleep and forget about it until they finally get the programs televised correctly," said Mayor George Dempsey, who added the council should not revisit the issue until next year.
And some say the scheduler would not even benefit the borough.
"I don't feel there's any benefit to us, to the taxpayers. There's a benefit to the Board of Education who uses it almost exclusively," Democratic Councilman Mike Mangan said.
The school district operates the borough's public access TV station from the High School. Students schedule programs manually during school hours, but the station goes off-air once classes are dismissed.
Connolly said that, in addition to council meetings, the scheduler could be used to air historical, informational and educational programming related to Manasquan.
But McCarthy said that residents probably wouldn't bother tuning in.
"With all the choices that are on TV, how many people are going to be watching Manasquan programs?" said McCarthy, who added that he was still "not necessarily opposed to it."
The borough's public access station pulled in $101,183 from its cable contracts last year, Connolly said. She recommended using some of those funds to purchase the scheduler, but officials said it wasn't that easy.
Borough Administrator Joe DeIorio said funds to purchase the equipment would be needed via a capital ordinance, not through direct revenues.