City Council discusses climate sustainability plan, new meeting coverage technoloy

The East Lansing City Council got its first look at what could be a step forward into the digital age at its Tuesday night work session.

During its 7 p.m. work session at City Hall, 410 Abbot Road, the council heard a presentation from Jack Melnicoff, a solutions specialist with a nationwide information technology company called Granicus that works with government municipalities to promote transparency.

The company works with government agencies to provide live web streaming of public meetings, along with software that enables residents and council members to interact with the agenda in real time.

The software allows residents to move through video of the agenda by using an interface that has the ability to skip to specific points in meetings by clicking on the corresponding portions of the agenda.

Users can skip to archived meetings and work through supporting material and old agendas.

Council members and city staff also can edit and add notes to agenda items, while at the same time viewing all support documents on one screen.

“It makes it easy to find your materials,” Melnicoff said at the meeting. “You’re now just clicking a button.”

City Manager George Lahanas said it could allow council to eliminate paper agendas.

Council members said they would like to discuss the matter more thoroughly, including looking at program costs, which might be around $8,000 each year, and how data such as notes might be stored.

The council also got an update on the city’s climate sustainability plan, which was developed by the city’s Commission on the Environment and has not yet been approved by the council.

When a draft was brought to council last year, the council expressed a desire to prioritize goals such as reducing the city’s environmental footprint through the plan, said Dave Smith, environmental specialist with the city of East Lansing.

“It would be my hope that we would adopt this,” Mayor Pro Tem Nathan Triplett said at the meeting.

The plan is expected to be placed on the council’s business agenda at a meeting to be determined later.

City officials hope to use the plan in future years to continue to be environmentally conscious, Mayor Diane Goddeeris said.

“Having this plan supports all those opportunities,” she said at the meeting.

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