For at least the next three weeks or so, the chambers of the Dalton City Council in City Hall will be closed while a new audiovisual system is installed. The City Council’s scheduled Monday, Feb. 6, meeting will be in the Mack Gaston Community Center at 6 p.m.
City Administrator Andrew Parker said city officials hope the work will be completed before the council’s Feb. 20 meeting but there is a possibility that meeting will be at the Mack Gaston Community Center as well.
“We are taking it one meeting at a time,” he said. “It’s not just the City Council. We’ve got several other groups that meet here as well — the school board, the solid waste authority, the Public Safety Commission. All of those meetings will be moved. The meetings underneath the city, such as the Public Safety Commission, will take place at the Mack Gaston Community Center. I don’t know where other groups will meet.”
The council members voted in November 2022 to accept a $120,418 bid from W.H. Platts of Norcross to replace the audiovisual equipment in the council chambers.
Parker said there have been complaints by both those attending meetings in person and those watching the livestream of meetings on YouTube about being unable to hear council members and other speakers.
He said the company contracted with designed and installed the audiovisual system in the Whitfield County Board of Commissioners’ new meeting room in the county courthouse.
He said the city’s system will be similar, with multiple cameras capable of focusing on individual speakers, instead of the one static view the current system in City Hall has.
“We are going to replace that old, antiquated projection screen (behind the council) that nobody can really see,” he said “We are going to be adding two additional monitors midway in the room, so if you are sitting in the audience you can look across at them and see what’s going on.”
All of the audio and visual equipment will be replaced.
“We’ve added a tech booth,” Parker said. “We had complaints from people in the audience about not being able to hear the council, so we will bring this system into the 21st century. We’ve got the one wide-angle view of the council. If you are watching online, you often can’t tell which council member is speaking. This will give us multiple cameras and the ability to focus on the person who is speaking.”
Parker said it will be very similar to the system in the county Board of Commissioners’ meeting room, and the viewing experience should be similar to watching a commissioners meeting.