Electric cars, television broadcasting and Tiki huts were among the topics of discussion at Palmetto Bay’s first regular council meeting of the new year.
Although the Village Council had a short to-do list Monday night, the meeting lasted about four hours after newly elected Vice Mayor John DuBois asked to discuss all three items on the consent agenda — a list of expenditures of $25,000 or less normally approved with no discussion on a single vote. He also brought up some land-use issues for discussion.
DuBois questioned the amount of $19,000 for the second phase launch of the village’s WBAY video program, which will include branding and promoting efforts, increased programming on Comcast’s government access channel 77 and potential adoption by other cable carriers, such as AT&T U-verse Channel 99 and satellite service providers like DISH Network.
The vice mayor questioned a figure of $21,000 in funding support via outreach agent ASAP Brand Inc. The company entered into a relationship with the village in January 2012 to launch the first phase of the 10-hour TV program package on Comcast. The contract for the next phase guarantees at least $21,000 in underwriter/sponsorship opportunities as WBAY grows viewership.
“Does that mean we are up to paying $40,000 for this?” DuBois asked.
Village Manager Ron Williams and Mayor Shelley Stanczyk said the $21,000 is revenue, not expense.
“They are committed in the sense that if they don’t bring it in, they don’t get paid,” said Stanczyk. “That’s a pretty big carrot.”
Bill Kress, the village’s public information officer, addressed the council to stress the need to move forward with the next phase, which would boost the government-mandated 10 hours of broadcasting with an additional 18 hours of topical program content pitched at local schools, business groups and community-based organizations.
“We’ve got about 100 viewers watching right now, and that may not sound like a lot of people but that’s more than can fit into this single room. This agreement is about refining this program. A year ago we launched, and we met the goals and brought this product to the residents. Now…we need assistance to update our branding and image.”
The village hopes to incorporate activities from its public and private schools into WBAY’s programming.
“If we bring in featured programming from our schools we are expanding our viewership to that audience of parents,” he said.
Stanczyk added that the addition of television programming to the village’s website, which streams live video feeds from council meetings, and email blasts is essential.
“One of the biggest challenges is getting news out to our residents on what we’re doing,” she said. “We were hammered so diligently by some of our residents when we moved to this building. There were high expectations we’d be broadcasting immediately and technology has to come along. We are now broadcasting and transparent … but thousands of people still don’t know we had a State of the Village or Holiday by the Bay, from our emails. But everybody watches TV. We will be on every cable supplier so we have virtually met the challenge of getting our information out to residents.”