EAST PROVIDENCE — At a special meeting Monday night, Feb. 11, at 6 o’clock, the East Providence City Council is expected to approve a quote for the return of live streaming of meetings for it and the School Committee as well as clarify aspects surrounding care and financing of the Looff Carousel.
Council President James Briden, who called for the special meeting, is then expected to bring the matters to the attention of the East Providence Budget Commission at its next bi-weekly meeting on Thursday, Feb. 14. The Commission has final approval on the topics.
City Clerk Kim Casci and City Manager Peter Graczykowski will recommend to the Council it approve a contract with Clerkbase, a state-based company already doing business with East Providence, to restore live streaming video of municipal meetings. The total cost would be $7,000 for the first year, including a $1,000 initiation fee, and $6,000 per year in the future.
According to documents presented to the Council by the administrators, Clerkbase offered the best of three quotes provided by companies for the service.
Ms. Casci wrote the following in her recommendation:
“This is the vendor the City currently contracts with. The cost of hosting an archived site for Council and School Committee meetings is $3,000, this does not include the live stream but the meetings could be accessed the next day. The cost of live streaming for both Council and School Committee meetings and archiving both, including linking to the electronic docket is $6,000.
“Both Council and the public can view the meeting and click the links on the docket, the items are time-stamped so that a person can go to just one item on the docket and watch and read the background material.
“The time it takes to complete minutes is vastly reduced as everything is linked so if the I needs to replay one item for example to listen to a motion it takes just seconds rather than searching for that motion among 5 hours of a recorded meeting.
Resolutions, ordinances and Charter already hosted by Clerkbase for the City and which have a user friendly and quick search engine.
“The video will then be linked to the minutes so that all the information is in one location and won’t be spread out in different locations on the website or linked to different vendors Clerkbase is a Rhode Island company. One person is assigned to East Providence and I can reach that person day or night on his cell and by text and email. If needed he is at my office within the hour. The City has contracted with Clerkbase since the 1990’s. Many cities and towns in R.I. contract with Clerkbase some of these are South Kingstown, Westerly, North Providence and West Warwick.
“We are requesting your approval of Clerkbase Opengovideo which includes live stream and archiving for City Council and School Committees, cost: $6,000 annually plus $1,000 one time installation and license software fees.”
As for the Looff Carousel, the Budget Commission has deferred allowing a Request for Proposal (RFP) to be initiated for needed repairs of the city landmark due to questions about finances and oversight.
City Solicitor Timothy Chapman was tasked by the Council to offer an opinion on each. In said opinion, Mr. Chapman wrote all accounts related to the Carousel should be closed and money derived from it should be funneled to separate trust fund (carousel park trust fund), which should be established by the city finance director and run by the East Providence Carousel Commission.
Mr. Chapman continued, “All funds raised by the Commission or the 501(C)(3) shall be deposited into the trust fund and spent only upon recommendation of the Commission and the approval of the City Council. The Commission, pursuant to the ordinance, adopted by-laws (in 1995) for the transaction of the business and to keep permanent and accurate records of its resolutions, transactions, determinations, and recommendations. The Commission shall file an annual report with
the City Clerk on or before November 15 of each year.”
Mr. Chapman’s opinion also included a proviso where the Carousel Commission must make recommendations to the City Council about aspects of its care and use. The Council would have final approval. However, the Budget Commission holds that position while it remains seated.
The Budget Commission expressed concerns over the status of Carousel employees. On this topic, Mr. Chapman wrote, “As to employees of the carousel, it is my understanding that past practice has dictated that the employees are paid by City check and covered under the City’s workers’ compensation insurance. The Human Resources Director has informed me that the employees receive no benefits but are considered City employees.”