COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — Columbus City Council will spend upward of $400,000 for a number of in-chamber renovations, including a new desk for each of its future additional members and new cameras for streaming purposes.
The Council cleared the $407,437 within a consent agreement at its meeting Monday night, entering into a construction contract with R.W. Setterlin Building Co. The funds — according to the ordinance — are allocated toward “various construction services,” which include adding two new desks, switching out five new in-chamber cameras and two lights, and installing fiber lines.
Adding, rearranging desks
The dais where members sit for weekly meetings and other hearings won’t structurally change, but once the two new desks are added, it will be rearranged to account for an eventual larger seated body.
“This is part of our effort to follow what the voters asked us to do,” said Jose Rodriguez, the Council’s communications director. “They need a place to sit.”
By the end of 2023, the Council itself will look different — growing by two members, from seven to nine — as it also changes from an entirely at-large body to a hybrid body. That swell has been a longtime in the making, after voters ratified city charter amendment Issue 3 in 2018, requesting a larger body.
Under the new system about to be ushered in, candidates for council have to live in the districts they are seeking election to. All voters in the city of Columbus, however, will vote on the whole slate of candidates, rather than just in the election for their ward.
More information about the districts Columbus residents will fall within is available on the city government’s website.
CTV gets new cameras, other additions
Much of the rest of the cost will go toward updating cameras and other technology used by Columbus Government Television, which livestreams Council and other city government meetings and events.
When the pandemic hit about three years ago, Rodriguez said streaming became vital to Council’s day-to-day.
The chamber’s current cameras are more than a decade old, according to Nya Hairston, Council’s deputy communications director. “With an investment like this, you want it to last,” Hairston said.
The chamber will undergo the various renovations while Council is on its summer recess, according to the ordinance.