Messina proposal is a no vote by Bethlehem Town Board

The biggest issue other board members had was money, but the ultimate philosophical argument was over how the public perceives the openness of Town Hall and where does it land in the laundry list of priorities.

"I'm reluctant to start adding costs to meetings," Cunningham said about holding meetings in various hamlets around town. "As far as Web-casting is concerned, that's kind of a cool idea."

Cunningham said the board has sought out Web-casting capabilities in the past, but with a quoted $60,000 price tag, he said the board needed to show some "fiscal restraint."

Councilman Kyle Kotary, who is also running for re-election this year, said he personally has looked into Web-casting, too, and the town can't afford it.

"I pushed several points, including why can't we just take [public access] Channel 18 and put it on Utube, I mean I can do that," said Kotary. "But there were logistical reasons why we couldn't do it."

Kotary said after some research and talking to vendors he heard quotes in the $80,000 to $100,000 range.

Messina said he did not know where the $60,000 quote came from and heard it was more in the neighborhood of $12,000. Councilman Mark Hennessey said he remembers hearing of a $20,000 start up cost and then a $1,000 a month continuation fee but that there was a question mark over the cost of archiving the Web-cast.

"The video casting at first sounded like a really good idea," said Hennessey. "We made a decision as a board together to take that out, thereby saving the taxpayers' money. I truly believe a better informed citizenry wants a government that's open but not inside out."

Councilwoman Joann Dawson said residents are generally pleased with town government.

"Not only are our town citizens generally content with the way we're running the town, or they would be here to let us know, but I also think people have a lot of things on their plate right now," she said. "With all the things going on right now I don't think they would consider this worthy of a study group."

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