Auburn, Calif.- The geography of Placer County stretches from the flatlands of western Roseville to the mountains surrounding Lake Tahoe. This presents difficulties for all citizens to participate in local government.
When the Placer County Board of Supervisors meets in Auburn next week, the meeting will feature something that’s never been done before – video teleconferencing for the public.
The pilot effort to take place Tue, Feb. 24, will allow Tahoe area residents to remotely participate in the board’s Auburn meeting through video teleconferencing. Members of the public will be able to address the board during public comment and offer their views during public hearings. This pilot will test the possibility of making this a permanent feature of board meetings. All comment and testimony that is offered remotely will become part of the official record.
The pilot came about at the urging of Fifth District Supervisor Jennifer Montgomery, whose district encompasses the eastern end of Placer County, including a large portion of Lake Tahoe. The system will provide more transparency for Placer County and comes in response to requests from Tahoe residents to make their county government more accessible. While the board strives to hear Tahoe-related items in Tahoe, time constraints sometimes require the issues to be heard in Auburn.
“I look forward to the opportunity this will provide to Tahoe constituents to actively participate in their local government,” said Montgomery. “We are always looking for ways to encourage people to be a part of the governmental process and this will be a great way to keep Tahoe apprised of what’s happening and facilitate participation.”
The high mountain pass that sits between the eastern and western parts of Placer County, along with a 60 or 70 mile trip each way serve as an impediment for Tahoe locals to participate in Auburn board meetings. The distance can be even more acute when inclement weather hits the high county.
A camera and video monitor will be set up in the first floor conference room in the county’s Tahoe City offices, also known as the Customs House, 775 North Lake Blvd, Tahoe City. A video monitor and projection screen in board chambers in Auburn will provide the visual portion of the connection and the audio will play through speakers in the chambers. Likewise in Tahoe City, the video monitor and speakers will allow Tahoe participants to see and hear what is happening in Auburn. Although this has been tested, it is the first time it will be tried during an actual meeting, and technical problems are possible while we develop this new way of improving access for the public.