For too many years, Berkeley Township residents have had to travel to Town Hall or make do with a monthly student broadcast of Township Council meetings, often telecast long after the meeting had taken place.
But all that may change soon. Township officials are hoping to have meetings broadcast on Comcast Channel 22 and Cablevision Channel 76, Mayor Carmen F. Amato and Councilwoman Judy Noonan say.
Amato - a former two-term Township Councilman - said previous administrations had "no interest" in televising meetings.
"I think the more open and transparent you make yourself, the better off you are," Amato said. "The more we can do to make ourselves accessible...this is just another means. In the future, we would like to input it on our website."
If the township moves forward with televised meetings, the township would have to purchase the required equipment - which would include two video cameras, a computer and appropriate software, Township Administrator Frederick Ebenau said.
"We are trying to do this project for under $5,000," he said.
The upgrade would be part of a shared service agreement with the Central Regional School district, coordinated by Central's information technologist Curtis Kleier, Ebenau said.
Eventually, township officials hope to have the meetings online as well, Amato said.
"The entire process is in its infancy stage," Amato said. "Our first priority is to get our council meetings back up on T.V., with the long term goal to go online, depending on how the budget will dictate how quickly we can get this finished."
Currently only one council meeting a month is taped and broadcast on Channel 22. The camera is manned either by a volunteer Central Regional High School student or by Central Regional Superintendent Triantafillos Parlapanides.
Noonan said at a recent council meeting she hopes that events around the township can be taped and broadcast too.
"I can't wait," said Berkeley Township Taxpayers Coalition President Samuel J. Cammarato at a recent council meeting. It's wonderful. Thank you again for your hard work."