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Earlier this month, the commissioners court began recording video of its meetings and posting them on its web site. In the past, if you were unable to attend a commissioners court meeting, you could purchase an audio CD recording. The audio CD's were OK, but these webcasts are far superior, both in convenience and in quality.
Last night, I finally had a chance to watch the last 2 meetings. The quality is impressive, and the loading time reasonable.
I watched the January 8th meeting and was taken by the fact that not one citizen showed up for the final public hearing and adoption of the county's mobility plan. The fault partially lies with a complacent citizenry, however I think the greatest share of the blame should be placed at the door of the commissioners courtroom.
I attended some of the previous public hearings on this important transportation planning plan. The earlier hearings were held in the much larger central jury room, and they were held in the evenings after work. There was a good turnout of concerned, involved voters and local government officials leading to some very interesting and productive discussions.
It's really a "no-brainer". If the county advertises the meetings and makes them accessible, people will attend. If the court does its business in the 6th floor broom closet in the middle of the work day, only county employees will show up.
Releasing the webcast videos will go a long ways to making Collin County Government more accessible. If the commissioners would meet in the evenings in the Central Jury room, our county leaders would have finally gotten the message that good government involves its citizens, it doesn't avoid them.
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