City Council reviews bids for new A/V equipment

Landfill rates may have become a major point of discussion at Monday night’s meeting, but it was far from the only item reviewed by the Fergus Falls City Council. In fact, two of the agenda items considered were as the result of citizen feedback.

Every gathering of the City Council is televised by local provider PEG Access. Audio and video equipment has been continuously improved in the council chambers over the last decade, but residents continue to report difficulty hearing some of the conversation. As such, a request was made of city staff to review options for an improved system, and Monday evening was the first update on those efforts.

Information Technology employees joined forces with Lakes Country Services Cooperative to solicit bids for the new electronics. As a result, two separate packages were received, one for new audio hardware, and the other for new video equipment. At a price of $32,836, new microphones and other necessary components would be installed in the building. Part of the cost includes “omnidirectional” microphones, which would better capture sound from speakers who are not perfectly aligned with their microphone.

A second bid, for the amount of $34,484 would be sufficient to install new video cameras and other broadcast devices within the meeting space. A portion of that total, slightly more than $5,000, could be used to add a document camera, which would allow residents to see maps and other handouts being reviewed by city staff. Similar cameras are being used during broadcasts of Otter Tail County meetings.

Overall, council members way in conversations about seemed to suggest that new audio equipment should be the highest priority of the two. Video upgrades, on the other hand, would have to be approved by the PEG Access Board at their next meeting, as those components are under their ownership.

More information is expected to be available by the next City Council meeting.

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