ATL HIGHLANDS – It appears the Mayor and Council and municipal court will all have a sophisticated and complete system enabling hybrid meetings and court sessions within a couple of months, after the governing body approved the purchase of equipment at last night’s meeting of borough council.
Council president Brian Boms conducted the meeting in the absence of Mayor Loretta Gluckstein, who was absent due to a personal emergency.
Council unanimously approved the purchase of a system to correct the current inability to conduct hybrid meetings from IMPACT Technology Solutions of Mount Laurel for $11,567. Councilman Jon Crowley, head of the council’s technology and communications committee, said the equipment, a High Definition video-conferencing and presentation system is the same quality as the system he had previously recommended from a different firm, however, he could secure this at the $11,567 price, a savings from the previously discussed $17,000 . The price also includes in-person training by the firm for municipal personnel who would be operating the system.
Crowley detailed locations of cameras and other equipment which he said would enable the meeting to be attended both in person in borough hall, as well as virtually. He pointed out he saw the equipment in action in both Wall Township and Deal, and the equipment would be used for planning board, municipal court and council meetings. The equipment also includes noise cancellation technology, he said.
Ironically, the action to purchase the equipment because of present incapability, took place at a meeting which was held hybrid with current equipment, although with numerous glitches. There were numerous instances where virtual attendees could not participate because the screen was frozen, and virtual attendees could not hear all the comments voiced by residents in attendance in Borough Hall. Masked council members also made it more difficult to hear and understand all the facts on the principal issues under discussion at the meeting, including the future of cannabis in the borough. (See related story.) and the introduction of amendments to the municipal parking ordinance.
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