Green Bay holds decision on Spectrum TV channel
By Heather Graves
GREEN BAY – Whether or not Green Bay will continue to rebroadcast its city council meetings on Spectrum TV channel 4 remains unclear as alders delayed a decision on the matter at its meeting earlier this month.
Green Bay Information Technology Director Mike Hronek asked the council to discontinue the use of the service in lieu of repairing malfunctioning equipment, which has not been operational for months.
Hronek estimated the cost to fix the issue would be at least $6,000, as well as staff time.
He said more repairs would likely also be needed in the near future.
The decision to delay the vote hinged on the fact Spectrum has yet to provide data to the city in regards to how many viewers the meetings have, even though Hronek said his department has previously requested the information.
“I’m not entirely convinced, and no offense to anyone here, that we have pushed Spectrum hard on the number of people who watch,” District 12 Alderperson Jesse Brunette said. “I think that data would be very good for us to know before we make such a decision on whether to continue with Spectrum. I am a little hesitant to believe that we have exhausted all resources to really get that information.”
Other Alderpersons said the viewership numbers wouldn’t change their decision to vote in favor of discontinuing the rebroadcast.
“To me, I think there is this assumption perhaps that this is the only way we can reach certain members of the public,” District 9 Alderperson Brian Johnson said. “And I would caution us against protecting old assumptions. I mean, if that were the case, the only way to appreciate an art gallery would be in a cave. The only way we would have gotten here to the city council today was on horseback. The reality is things do evolve, and in today’s marketplace, it is about on-demand and expediency. And I think we can achieve both of those things much more effectively and reach more people gaining the advantages of a live stream.”
District 3 Alderperson Lynn Gerlach said the fact the channel has been down for more than two months and she hasn’t heard one complaint is data enough.
“How many alders have been contacted by a constituent complaining that channel 4, or whatever it is, is down?” she said. “I have not had one. And I haven’t heard anyone tonight say that they have. That is data. Do you want to talk about people complaining about speeding? We hear that a lot. I just think we are making this more difficult than it has to be. I agree with Alder Johnson, we need to move forward into the 21st century.”
The topic will go back to the Protection and Policy Committee as staff seeks additional information from Spectrum.
It will be brought back before the full council when the information becomes available.
If the city decides to discontinue the public television channel, City Attorney Vanessa Chavez said a waiver from the state would be required to stream the meetings live on YouTube and add closed captioning later when they are posted on the city’s YouTube channel.
Hronek said many communities throughout the state already do this.
St. John’s homeless support program
The council unanimously approved the extension of the St. John’s Homeless Support Program at St. John’s Park through Nov. 1.
The initiative was approved by the city council in April to combat an uptick in homeless individuals gathering in St. John’s Park.
The one-year pilot program, spearheaded by St. John’s Homeless Shelter, is designed to help connect or reconnect individuals with services and programs to help them become self-sufficient.
St. John’s Associate Executive Director Matt Kadlec said the program has seen great success.
“It’s been an awesome few months here,” Kadlec said. “We have about 16 different partnerships with the community, and I’m constantly fielding more requests from people who are looking to partner.”
At the Parks Committee, District 7 Alderperson Randy Scannell said the program is a benefit to the community and the homeless population.
“I certainly support this program,” Scannell said. “I think it is a great program… Without this program, with this program there are going to be difficulties. And I think with this program we are going to be able to address those difficulties better than without it. It definitely has my full support.”
The city council approved several purchases across multiple departments. They include:
• Two ambulances for the Green Bay Metro Fire Department from Jefferson Fire and Safety for a total of $544,163.
• A used front-end loader and grapple bucket from Aring Equipment Company for a sum of $170,927.
• Two toolcats and attachments from Bobcat Plus, Inc. for a total of $126,206.
• A dump body/wing/plow for tandem axle trucks from Monroe Equipment for $119,940.
• A loader wing/plow from Monroe Equipment for $47,590.
• Two V-box spreaders from Monroe Equipment for $46,428.
• A tandem axle truck chassis from Packer City International for $97,719.