By Chadwick Dolgos
Coraopolis Borough Council is sinking about $2,400 into audio system upgrades in hopes of improving sound quality for online meetings and allowing for a return to roundtable workshop discussions in the council chambers.
The purchase approval went forward Feb. 3 despite the absence of former president Robb Cardimen, who stepped down as president to become vice president during the council’s Jan. 13 workshop meeting.
Newly appointed President David Pendel was on board with approving funding for part of the proposed upgrades, but suggested council hold off on voting for the rest of the package until all members of council were present.
“I think we should wait until we have all our council members here, so that everyone has a chance to speak their minds,” said Pendel.
“We did have differences when we were discussing this the first time.”
Cardimen was the only member of council not present during the meeting.
“No disrespect to who’s not here, I just think that if we’re going to need it, why wait until when to make the decision?,” asked Councilwoman Lucinda Wade. “It’s not like we purposely had this discussion because someone’s not here.”
Borough Manager Ray McCutcheon said he’s received a lot of complaints from residents who say they can’t properly hear the meeting broadcast.
Meetings are currently a hybrid of in-person and online participation. Chambers are currently closed to the public because of the ongoing pandemic, but members of council can choose to either meet in person or call-in.
Residents are limited to online attendance only.
“When I missed one of our meetings, and I was on the phone, I could hear everyone else clearly that was on the phone, but anybody that spoke into this system was garbled and scratchy,” said Councilman Rudy Bolea. “It was the worst meeting I ever attended [online].”
Council moved forward with the vote and approved the motion unanimously. The total cost of the proposal includes a new receiver, microphone transmitter, cable projector hookup fee, and the camera hookup fee.
The microphone transmitter will allow for a return to round table discussion meetings that were an integral part of workshop meetings when council was in its previous home on 5th Avenue.
When placed at the center of the table, the microphone will pick up what every member of council is saying.
The new sound equipment will be purchased from Hollowood Music and Sound, Inc. in McKees Rocks.