Local governments change to online public meetings
Last updated 4/15/2020 at 10:16am
Local governments are having to change the way they hold public meetings in light of the COVID-19 stay-at-home and social distancing mandates.
In Fountain, the City Council will begin holding all meetings until further notice via “gotowebinar,” an online conferencing platform. Council chambers will not be open to the public, so residents who wish to speak must do so through this new tool.
Those wishing to call in by phone instead of computer have the option to do so; however, phone users will not be able to submit comments, only listen in.
City Clerk Silvia Huffman said she has provided an instruction sheet for this new method.
“We will have this and the link on our website and Facebook,” she said.
In summary, those who wish to participate can go to the city’s website, http://www.fountaincolorado.org, click on the bright green banner at the top with the City Council announcement, and follow the link to register for the webinar. It becomes active a day or so before each upcoming meeting.
After registering, they will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar. From there, they can follow links to instructional videos on how to participate in the Virtual City Council Meeting Webinar.
During the meeting, each council member will be called on for his or her vote. Should the public have any questions, a moderator will announce the question and the Mayor will address each.
Usually, the meetings are broadcast live on YouTube for those who wish to watch from home. Now, the logistics of the situation prevent city staff from broadcasting it live on YouTube, but it will be posted there after the meeting, Huffman said.
Council meetings are held the second and fourth Tuesday of each month. The first use of this webinar was April 14.
County Board of Commissioners
Residents who would like to watch and participate in the El Paso County Board of Commissioners meetings can watch on TV or online, or participate via Facebook live. During last week’s meeting, viewers typed comments and questions under the Facebook live feed, and many were addressed by a moderator during the session.
“Just submit questions on Facebook live, and we’ll read them and we’ll do our best to answer them there,” Commissioner Mark Waller instructed at the start of that meeting.
Most commissioners appeared to participate from their homes. Viewers did participate with numerous comments. Some indicated approval of this endeavor to provide the meeting in new ways.
“I really appreciate the live stream,” Facebook viewer Quinn Bryant commented.
These meetings are each Tuesday and Thursday at 9 a.m.