Summit County meetings on video
One enterprising resident has committed to attending every Summit County Council and Synderville Planning Commission meeting to videotape the discussions.
Park City resident Josh Mann has created a website, http://www.summitcounts.com , that enables anyone with an Internet connection to watch the meetings when and where they choose.
"I’m putting things on the web so people find things they are interested in and maybe get passionate over them and cause them to attend the meetings, join local groups, email their council members and call their planning commissioners," Mann said.
Mann started attending Planning Commission and County Council meetings in hopes of being chosen for an open commissioner seat. While he wasn’t chosen from the several who applied, the experience was eye-opening for him.
"There were some things that were great in the meetings, and other things that I thought, what’s going on here," he said. "And as I looked around, there were not a lot of people there. I thought, there’s got to be a way to get other people to see this."
Mann said he didn’t realize how important the things discussed at the meetings are until he started attending them.
"But it’s stuff that affects us every day. And I want people to be able to see them," he said.
Mann said his videos have been getting 100 to 200 hits a day.
"The response has been great from the general public and from the citizen groups," he said.
Mann breaks each meeting down into different topics and uploads them separately, along with brief descriptions.
"What I’m trying to do is make a catalogue of the events that happened and break it down," he said. "So when somebody is looking for a specific topic and looking for information, they can come to http://www.summitcounts.com and find the information. If someone is interested in taxes, they can search for all the videos on taxes and see what’s happening."
Mann has received interest from others in the community who want to help tape meetings, but he said he would prefer people to cover other meetings, such as the Park City Council or Park City Planning Commission meetings.
"I’d love to see what’s going on at a Park City Council or Planning Commission meeting and have that catalogued for me," he said. "If as a community we could record those and put those out for everyone to see, it becomes a joint effort and easier for everyone."
Mann added that students from local schools may want to help.
"Park City High School has a film class," he said. "I know it’s not as exciting as making a movie but if there is someone who wants some real-world experience, I’d love to have them."
Councilmember Kim Carson said she thinks the website is a great idea.
"I know more governmental entities are beginning to do it all over the country," she said. "If we can provide greater access to our constituents, all the better."
Carson said she has already started receiving comments about issues from residents who have watched videos on the website.
"I think as more people see it, we’ll probably receive more feedback," she said. "It’s a big county and people have busy lives. Even though they have interests in certain areas, they can’t always attend the meetings every week.
Carson said the county may begin taping the meetings themselves once they have hired a public information officer.
"I know one person made the comment that why doesn’t the county do this when it has unlimited funds," she said. "Well, we don’t have unlimited funds and we do have limited staff time. It takes time to be there, record it and get it posted. But we’re working on it. It’s definitely the desire of the council."
Anita Lewis, Brent Ovard and Travis English were influential in shaping how residents interact with the county.