Technology upgrades coming to Sylvan Township's meeting room

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Remote viewing of Sylvan Township meetings is expected to improve with help from some ARPA funds.

Township supervisor Kathleen Kennedy said they’re really excited about the needed improvements that will come after the township board approved a decision at its June 7 meeting to move forward on upgrading the technology inside the board meeting room.

Sylvan is using around a $46,000 chunk of the money it received through the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) on the technology upgrades. The township worked with its attorney to verify that the funds could be used for these.

Sylvan has just under $300,000 in ARPA funds to work with, so residents can expect to see the township find other projects in the near future for these designated funds.

During the shutdown and COVID pandemic, Sylvan, like most municipalities, was meeting virtually over Zoom with meeting attendees sitting at home in front of their computer. Since the township has gone back to in-person meetings it has continued to offer a virtual option for those who want to view meetings from home, but this has come with some challenges for those at home and those inside the meeting room.

Kennedy said the current technology in the meeting room hasn’t been updated since 1999. As an example of the needs, the room has five microphones. During meetings, such as the planning commission, there can sometimes be seven people up front speaking at one time or another, and in many cases the viewer listening remotely cannot hear them that well.

And then there might be public  comments at the meeting,  but no microphone or camera to properly capture it for the viewers.

The upgrades will change this and modernize the audio and visual through added microphones, cameras and a specialized podium where the public in attendance at township hall can be heard and seen by those at home. These are just a few of the upgrades to come as the meeting room will be fully updated and interconnected.

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