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Malta may broadcast town meetings

Malta residents may be able to take further advantage of technology in staying up-to-date on the governance of their town if a proposal to begin broadcasting town meetings over several mediums moves forward.

The Town Board heard a proposal on Tuesday, Sept. 8, from town Webmaster Candace Schmidt, who said that purchasing equipment from technology supplier Core BTS, which has offices in Clifton Park, would run the town between $22,000 and $36,000, depending on the features. Once up and running, an estimated yearly maintenance fee of $2,200 would be necessary.

Schmidt also suggested that the town further investigate working through the state Office for Technology as a cost saving measure. The town would stream meetings live from Town Hall or other locations to the agency, which would then send the stream to Time Warner for public access channel broadcast and to the town's Web site for Internet users. The Officer for Technology could also archive the video.

They have a large server, and they've gone to great lengths to secure this, said Schmidt.

The municipalities of Clifton Park and Saratoga Springs broadcast their meetings via their Web sites, where previous meetings can also be accessed. Other governments in the Capital District have various degrees of broadcasting capabilities, but operating through the Office of Technology would be a unique opportunity for Malta that would keep costs at a minimum, said Schmidt, if only for the fact it's a nonprofit entity.

The Office for Technology networking is mostly being conducted between state offices and not local governments, but Schmidt said her inquiries were positively received due to the work the town is doing with microchip manufacturer GlobalFoundries, who is in the process of building a $4.2 billion factory in town. The video equipment used to broadcast meetings could multitask as videoconferencing gear.

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