Gillett council meetings hit the internet

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Livestreaming expected to begin with June meeting

Monthly meetings of the Gillett City Council will be livestreamed, starting June 7.

Tourism and Marketing Commission Chairman Jake Steldt told the council Thursday that the meetings will be shown at the Gillett Community and Events page on Facebook. Steldt has also set up a Gillett Community channel on YouTube and a website.

“We have an online group of about 50 to 60 people that are just waiting right now because they want to be able to watch, and they can’t come here for whatever reason. They’re working or something,” Steldt said.

He urged the council to become more active on the community and Ask City Council pages to take advantage of opportunities to interact with constituents and clear up misunderstandings.

“When I’m working, I hear older men sitting at the tables, and they’re talking: ‘Oh, the city council did this.’ I was there; that was not true,” Steldt said. “It’d be easier to be able to say, ‘Why don’t you go to minute 22 on the video, and there you go. Now you know the exact answer instead of a lot of misinformation.’”

The livestreams would be archived on the Facebook page, the YouTube channel, the website and an app that’s under development.

“So you can watch from any of those platforms,” Steldt said.

Steldt is televising the meetings on his own initiative. City attorney Katie Sloma said the council didn’t need to take formal action to approve something that’s allowed by state law.

“Anybody could be doing it right now,” Sloma said. “You can’t stop them.”

The Gillett City Council usually meets at 6 p.m. on the first Thursday of the month.

Steldt also gave an update on the Gillett Community Insight Project, which he and other volunteers have undertaken “to solidify Gillett’s digital presence on all platforms and facilitate communication with the community.”

In addition to the Facebook and YouTube pages, “we actually have created over 30 resources at a cost of $67 to the city,” Steldt said. He estimated he’s invested about $3,500 of his own funds.

Facebook Analytics indicates Gillett Community and Events has become the third-largest page in Oconto County for news and information, he said.

“We conducted the largest digital survey ever of Gillett,” Steldt said. “The state’s going to be using some of the results from it in some of their surveys.”

“This is something that’s sort of going on behind the scenes to get everyone in the community aware of what’s going on in our businesses – we have a quaint Main Street with all small shops – and try and get people better informed of what we have,” said Mayor James Beaton, who is also president of the Gillett Business Association.