Ogdensburg officials agree to purchase two televisions, Apple TV for video conferences, webinars, presentations
Tuesday, March 11, 2014 - 5:59 am

By JIMMY LAWTON

OGDENSBURG – Following a brief presentation from city employees Matt Denner and Andrea Smith Monday, the city agreed Monday night to purchase two television with Apple TV in lieu of a projector system.

City councilors saw a brief demo of Apple TV, which would allow councilors to be present for meetings via video conferencing using their iPads.

The city was originally looking to purchase a projector, but Buildings and Grounds Supervisor Matt Denner and Planning Director Andrea Smith determined it would actually be cheaper to purchase TVs instead, because of the cost of installation.

The idea was praised by Ogdensburg City Manager John Pinkerton who said it would allow the city to “kill two birds with one stone.”

He said the set up would allow for video conferencing as well as presentations. He said Power Point presentations could be loaded on to an iPad and be displayed on the televisions.

Smith said this would also allow city employees, board members and others to take advantage of webinars. She said this would be a cheaper way to facilitate professional development as it would not require driving, paid meals or hotel stays.

“There would be an immediate cost savings for the city,” she said.

Denner told councilors they could purchase one large 80-inch television or two smaller 55 to 60-inch televisions.

Pinkerton said having two would allow for more than one absent councilor to be present via video conferencing, or allow for a presentation and one councilor to be present via the iPad.

Mayor William Nelson said he was at a recent meeting where the technology was used and it worked well. He said it was also used by the St. Lawrence Psychiatric Center Task Force for meetings with the Governor's staff.

“It's actually pretty amazing,” he said.

Councilor Dan Skamperle raised concerns as to whether it was something the city really needed.

“I don't see this as a pressing issue,” he said. “I don't want to spend the money if we don't need it.”

Skamperle said the additional sales tax money being received from the county's 1 percent increase should be put in the bank.

Smith said she believed the city needed it for presentations, adding that currently her department has a projector that has to be moved from place to place. She said the city council chamber should be equipped with a device that can display presentations.

Pinkerton said the Apple TV, a device that plugs into the TV and allows connectivity to the iPads was around $90. Denner said the 60-inch TVs would be under $800.

While council took no formal action, a consensus of the council directed Denner and Smith to find the best prices and move forward with the purchases.