MUKILTEO, Wash., February 23, 2022 – After a month of the city of Mukilteo being unable to post video, audio, or agendas of city council online meetings to its website, due to “technical difficulties,” the problem has been resolved.
Beginning with the January 18, 2022, meeting, the city was unable to post its city council meetings yet other commission meetings were posted to its website. The agendas for past city council meetings were also missing from the city’s website for 31 days.
Under Washington State law, RCW 35A.12.110, city councils are required to keep a journal of “all proceedings…which shall be public record.”
To ensure transparency and provide a service to Mukilteans, the Lynnwood Times began broadcasting Mukilteo City Council Meetings on Facebook until the City was able to resume posting City Council meetings.
The Lynnwood Times contacted Mukilteo City Clerk, Kara Johnson, who is responsible for posting of recorded minutes, online meetings and managing the record of public meetings, to discuss the issue.
“The City is currently having technical difficulties in regards to posting the live meetings to our website. At this time I do not have a time frame that it will be fixed. We are working on it and are aware of the problem. Thank you for your patience in this matter,” Johnson wrote in an email response.
The city recently allocated $148,924 of American Rescue Plan Act funds in upgrades to audio/visual equipment in the council chambers.
The audio portion of these upgrades has been installed and is operational and the new video cameras have been installed and are operational, however, according to Steve Powers, Mukilteo City Administrator, there are still items not installed due to supply chain shortages such as replacement microphones, a screen replacement for the projector, and the lobby display.
The February 14 meeting was the first meeting where the City could use the audio equipment and there was a “dramatic improvement to the audio quality,” Powers said.
The Lynnwood Times reached out to Powers to understand what the “technical issues” the City Clerk described were and how the issue will be resolved in the future.
According to Powers, the encoder which plays the live feed on the City’s website is not compatible with the new installation. During the AV installation it was discovered that the vendor for the encoder does not support the analog input from the new AV system as the city had made accommodations for.
In the very near future, the city council will be asked to approve a contract amendment with the encoder vendor to replace the equipment so that it is compatible with the AV system. During this time the live feed will not be available, and the video recordings (which will occur via Zoom) will require manual upload and made available later.
“The public is currently able to participate in each of the City Council meetings via phone or by Zoom; this will continue in the future,” Powers said.
Powers added that once the new encoding server is installed, recordings will be available live and shortly after the end of scheduled meetings. The city also plans to record the audio locally, separate from the encoding server, in case of any hardware failures.
“Until the new equipment needed to correct this problem can be installed, the city will continue to record meetings through Zoom and manually upload this video to the website,” Powers said.
As of today, February 23, all city council meetings have been uploaded to the city’s website and are operational for public viewing.