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Comms talk subtitles for meeting videos

YouTube already provides the public with the ability to watch and listen to Lycoming County commissioners meetings each week.

But some county officials aren’t so sure the present technology is sufficient for all people to access county government.

Jerry Kennedy, director of Information Services, presented commissioners with the option of providing closed captions of communications of live meetings as they are livestreamed to the public at a cost of between $10,000 and $24,000.

Presently, the closed caption option is only available for recorded versions of meetings, but is free of cost to the county.

Commissioner Rick Mirabito said the question comes down to allowing all county residents to tune in to the meetings.

Many people with disabilities need the closed caption option.

“I think that, as a county, we would have a hard time saying $24,000 is too much,” he said. “It would behoove us to do the right thing.”

A lot of veterans, he added, have serious disabilities.

Metzger said the cost is of concern to him.

He said the county makes every effort to be transparent and suggested perhaps commissioners’ meetings could be held later in the day and at different sites in the county to allow more people to attend them.

Commissioners took no action on the matter.

In other business, commissioners approved a $271,515 grant with the Department of Health for Emergency Management Services.

The annual funding helps with training and support services.

Commissioners agreed to create the position of natural resource planner for the planning and community department.

Planning director Shannon Rossman noted that the position was eliminated a number of years ago but is now necessary to help secure grants and perform other services.

Also at the meeting, commissioners approved:

• A pair of Microsoft Core Licensing Enterprise agreements.

• Hunter Kibler as an adult probation officer at $21.95 per hour.

• Elissa Stone as a part-time clerk in the treasurer’s office at $10.94 per hour.

Commissioners will next meet at 10 a.m. Tuesday at the Executive Plaza, 330 Pine St.

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