Aurora -- City Council decided to put videos of its committee of the whole meetings on the city's website -- www.auroraoh.com -- starting July 22.
COW and Council meetings both now are televised on the city's cable access channel, according to Clerk of Council Donna Hawks.
She said the Sept. 23 COW meeting wasn't televised, though, because there were technical difficulties when transmitting to the cable channel, but the COW meeting is on the website.
Putting COW meetings on TV and the website will help residents keep up with city activities, according to Councilwoman at-Large Ann Womer Benjamin.
"I have been frustrated with the fast pace of Council meetings and frequent lack of clear explanations of the issues being addressed, and I wondered how the viewing public kept up," Womer Benjamin said. "The fact that many issues are discussed more in committee of the whole meetings than in Council meetings only heightened my concern that the public would have a difficult time following the issues," she said.
"Therefore, I think [putting the COW meetings on the city's website] will help give a fuller picture to the viewing public of the matters Council is considering and perhaps even generate more attendance at meetings and/or participation on key issues."
Councilman-at-Large John Kudley said the idea of televising committee of the whole meetings so they can be put on the website was his idea "to allow the citizens to learn more in detail what is coming before Council."
"Sometimes, there is a tendency to discuss things at the committee level and then not necessarily have the same discussion during the Council meeting," he said. "As a result, the public may not fully understand why Council reached the decision that it did.
"Now, the citizens will have the opportunity to see the discussion and be in a position to come before Council to express their concerns, ask their questions and hopefully get the answers they want," he said. "It is essential that the citizens know and understanding what Council is doing."
Kudley said committee of the whole meetings were created a little more than 1 1/2 years ago. "Before that, Council primarily relied on its standing committees [safety, finance, etc.] to complete much of the research and study of items that would go to Council's agenda," he said.
Placing the meetings on the city's website is receiving a thumbs up from several other Council members.
"The more information we give out to people, the better off we are," Council President George Horvat said. "It's another avenue for people to know what's going on."
"I think it's a good tool for residents to see how much thought goes into a piece of legislation," Council Vice President Joe Kastelic said.
"The residents can have an opportunity to see what's going on," Ward 1 Councilman Jim Vaca added. "They can't say they didn't know what's happening."
"It's very informative for everyone," Ward 2 Councilman Dennis Kovach said. "Before issues go to Council, people get to see the discussions, so they are aware of the legislation to come. I would think people are pleased with it."
"One of the advantages [of it not being on the website] was, you tended to be a little more relaxed," Ward 3 Councilman Carl Rausch said. "It was just your group and whoever happened to be in the audience. The thought was, would being less relaxed interfere with the openness of our feelings? But we contrasted that with transparency and being open with the public, and that won the battle. It seems as if we're just as relaxed, though. So it's a good thing."
"Since there is often a lot of discussion at the COW meetings about items that are moved to our agenda for that evening, I think it's a great idea," Ward 5 Councilwoman Kathi Grandillo noted.
"When they record the Council meetings and talk about ordinances passed on by the COW, the public didn't know what we were talking about," Ward 6 Councilman Harold Hatridge said. "Now, the public can see what goes on in the COW meetings. The more information the public can gather, they better off it is for the city."
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Twitter: Mike Lesko@MikeLesko_RPC