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May 27

Local Governments Brace for Revenue Shortfall

By |2020-05-27T11:13:42-08:00May 27th, 2020|City Clerks, Court hearings, Industry News, judicial, Live Streamng, Technology Innovations|0 Comments

The US has a wide range of local governments that include cities, counties, townships, towns, villages, boroughs, school districts, public libraries. These entities need financial help, just like all businesses do, to prevent worker furloughs or layoffs.

Local government employees, like many in the country, are concerned about keeping their job. Local governments employ 14.5 million people, including the overwhelming majority of first responders and teachers who are the most needed now to respond to the public health crisis and bring the country out of the economic crisis it now faces.

The jobs and pay of nearly half a million firefighters, 900,000 police officers, 1 million hospital and health care workers, and more than 5 million teachers who work in local governments are on the line if there is no federal fiscal intervention.

The need for federal aid to local governments will also help keep local businesses in business and the public informed. Without federal assistance, local governments will have to reduce the assistance they are providing to constituents to cope with the effects of the pandemic.

Normal government services provided to their citizens, including police and fire protection, health care services, and the educational work of teachers and librarians, will have to be reduced or cut altogether. In terms of a recession that the country is facing, furloughs, layoffs, and spending cuts will reduce consumer spending and exacerbate the recession.

Local governments are providing massive resources and support for coping with the coronavirus crisis, like testing for the virus. Hospitals, health departments, other health providers, first responders, and emergency medical technicians cannot continue without financial support from the federal government.

Because of closures to businesses, parks, and other services, local governments are suffering huge revenue losses. For example, sales tax revenues are dropping as businesses close and consumers stay at home. In a typical year, local governments receive roughly 35% to 40% of revenue through intergovernmental transfers, the vast majority of it coming from state governments that now face budget crises of their own. This will lead to further budgetary shortfalls for localities.

How much will your city be impacted?

Counties with populations between 50,000 and 500,000 will lose more than $30 billion in revenue. Counties with populations under 50,000 could lose about $10 billion in revenue and face another $10 billion of increased expenditures due to the pandemic, requiring a 24% reduction in their budgets.

In a typical year, local governments receive roughly 35% to 40% of revenue through intergovernmental transfers, the vast majority of it coming from state governments that now face budget crises of their own. This will lead to further budgetary shortfalls for localities.

In addition to heightened expenditure needs and falling revenues, local jurisdictions must balance their budgets and are heavily penalized for borrowing for operating expenses. As of now, these governments are faced with only two choices—cut spending or raise taxes. Both of these actions will deepen and lengthen the economic recession, as they did during the last recession.

Based on prior economic downturns, most local jurisdictions are likely to use spending cuts rather than tax increases to balance their budgets—indeed, many local governments already face relatively strict limits on their taxing authority.

Without federal aid now, local governments will be forced to furlough and lay off workers, deepening the recession and cutting back on critical services to constituents, such as police protection. In addition, local governments would be forced to reduce the assistance they provide to constituents and entities within their borders for coping with the effects of the pandemic. These highly undesirable outcomes can be prevented if sufficient federal fiscal relief is provided to local jurisdictions, but the clock is ticking.

At AV Capture All, our goal is to help local governments perform their mandates to keep their constituents informed.  Our affordable meeting management solutions for local government improve efficiency by streamlining the meeting workflow, while promoting transparency and accountability by empowering constituents to access valuable information pertaining to their community. With AV Capture All, government agencies can easily Capture, Manage & Share their meetings online.

Click here to request a DEMO today

May 12

Virtual Security Now More Important Than Ever

By |2020-05-12T10:24:13-08:00May 12th, 2020|City Clerks, Court hearings, Industry News, Live Streamng, Technology Innovations|0 Comments

As the Coronavirus pandemic continues, almost everyone has adapted to a new, virtual reality. Businesses, doctors, restaurants, and even the U.S. Supreme Court have made adjustments so they can continue functioning while people shelter at home.  

And now our Federal Government is engaging in video conferencing. Last week members of the bipartisan Problem Solvers Caucus met for the first-ever “Virtual Congress.” The event was streamed on Facebook Live with members speaking against a backdrop of the House chamber. The hourlong session was meant to replicate how the House debates legislation.

This week, for the first time in American history, a senate hearing will be conducted via videoconferencing. The Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee hosted the virtual hearing which will feature a combination of in-person and video conferencing participation.

“After consulting with Dr. Fauci, and in an abundance of caution for our witnesses, senators, and the staff, all four Administration witnesses will appear by videoconference due to these unusual circumstances,” said Senator Lamar Alexander, chair of the committee.

Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Dr. Fauci, Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Stephen Hahn and Assistant Secretary for Health Brett Giroir will also appear at the virtual hearing.

For Federal employees, one of the biggest issues they face is security. With the shift to telework, using personal computers versus agency-assigned computers has been a sticking point for several reasons. Agencies are now writing new policies for work-at-home during the COVID-19 pandemic that allows employees to use their own devices and “bring-your-own-device” (BYOD), which could have effects even after employees are able to return to the office.

“BYOD is now the reality, and it will continue to be,” said Greg Touhill, former federal CISO, and president of mobile security firm AppGate Federal Group, “because I don’t think we’re going back.”

Government agencies that have focused on the identity-based model of security have encountered fewer technical hurdles to access as the shift to telework enters the medium and long term.

Live Streaming Virtual meetings have some drawbacks but for the most part are an efficient use of time and resources.

According to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM), the statistics support the work from home model. The benefits of Live Streaming video communication are increased productivity, better connected distributed teams, reduced travel expenses, and a less stressful way to meet and work.

An OPM survey done before the health crisis found that video telecommuting work from home has been beneficial:

  • 82% of video users are less likely to multitask (as compared to just audio)
  • 78% of users said they use video communication at work for team meetings or stand-up meetings because it keeps them connected and engaged
  • 63% of video users miss seeing colleagues’ faces when they can’t join calls

The issue of security has not been addressed by many providers. However, now is the time for video conferencing providers to implement enterprise-grade, mission-critical security applications to ensure company and employee data is protected.

At AV Capture All, security has been essential to our platform because we work with government agencies that demand it. Our Live-Streaming solutions are secure, easy to use, and lets local governments stay engaged with the public during this unprecedented time.

AV Capture– Legislative Solution is used to record Audio and Video while integrating Agendas, Minutes, and Related Documents. The document content is synchronized with the Audio/Video stream, then indexed and immediately searchable when published online. Once published, staff and citizens can view any part of the Audio/Video-on-demand, while following along with the synchronized Agenda, Minutes and Related Documents. Live Streaming is also integrated into the platform to allow staff and citizens who cannot attend the meeting in-person to view online from home.

AV Capture All is here to ensure the gears of government continue to work and the public is informed.

Click here to Contact us today to a Demo.

May 8

The Virtual Future

By |2020-05-08T12:19:49-08:00May 8th, 2020|City Clerks, Court hearings, Industry News, judicial, Live Streamng, Technology Innovations|0 Comments

Are our lives going virtual?

Of course, there are services we need that happen in person, but one thing this global health crisis has shown is, a lot of things in our lives that we need can be done virtually.

Technology has been what is keeping us safe, productive, and engaged. As this becomes more of the norm, more platforms will be developed to handle services we used to do in person.

For local governments, technology’s what is keeping everything and everyone connected. All over the country, mayors, who are the heartbeat of their respective cities and their residents, are using technology to keep their city running and citizens engaged.

As technology continues to develop, it will enhance our ability to expand and establish innovative approaches to living, working, and community safety.

Innovation Is Key

The traditional City Hall model has now gone virtual. For large cities like Miami and Chicago and small cities like Biddeford, Maine, they have conducted their City Council meetings virtually and they are encouraging public participation. Across the country, mayors have adopted virtual platforms to deliver city services, collaborate, provide updates on COVID-19, and advance city operations.

While cities across the country continue to race to adapt to the new times we have found ourselves in, it is clear, technology is the solution. Finding the right technology platform is another question. Some have security issues, while others are cost-prohibitive. AV Capture All offers local government solutions that are costs effective and with a robust platform, can keep your constituents informed and engaged.

We’ve discovered remote work can be effective in keeping us safe while doing being productive, and as the social distancing measures continue, we will have to find innovative ways to ensure needs are being met.

As virtual city meetings become the future of local government and we’re meeting with each other virtually online, finding the right platform is key.

Local governments depend on their staff to connect with citizens and virtual conferences and meetings can be a placeholder until we are able to meet in person once again.

According to a report from Cisco Visual Networking Index, by 2021, it is estimated that 80% of web traffic will be video and Live Streaming, including video conferencing. And while some may believe that virtual conferences would not be conducive to attentiveness, 86% of participants in online meetings say they are as attentive as or more attentive than they would be in an in-person meeting. There will be 1.9 billion Internet video users, up from 1.4 billion in 2016, and people worldwide will be watching 3 trillion minutes of Internet video per month, which is 5 million years of video per month.

Get On Board

As things slowly begin to reopen, people will still be reluctant to go to City Council Meetings, especially those that require any kind of travel, like bus or train. Virtual meetings most likely are here to stay as they bridge the gap of caring about the health and wellness of staff, the public, and constituents.

Learn more about how AV Capture All can keep your mandated council meetings safe, effective, and engaging. AV Capture All offers affordable meeting management solutions for local government.
Our solutions improve efficiency by streamlining the meeting workflow while promoting transparency and accountability by empowering constituents to access valuable information about their community. With AV Capture All, government agencies can easily Capture, Manage & Share their meetings online.

Click here to Request a Demo Today

Apr 17

Constitutional rights during COVID19

By |2020-04-17T11:56:23-08:00April 17th, 2020|City Clerks, Court hearings, judicial, Live Streamng|0 Comments

Courtrooms all over the country are taking health precautions during the mandated quarantine as they try to continue to operate in this unprecedented national health crisis.

Some courthouses are banning the public during legal proceedings, only allowing the lawyers and defendants inside. This is in stark contrast to First Amendment law and a 1984 landmark U.S. Supreme Court decision that established that courtrooms are public spaces.

But these are exceptional times that call for exceptional decisions to be made. However there is massive confusion because no nationwide guidance has been called for so each Judge has to make his or her own decision.

In Nebraska, U.S. District Judge John Gerard postponed all civil and criminal jury trials and hearings scheduled.

In Iowa, federal courts are closed for civil and criminal jury trials until May 4. Judges are allowed to hold hearings if they deem them necessary and safe. Likewise, state courts in Iowa have called off criminal jury trials until late April and civil jury trials until early May. One County Courthouse is closed to the public indefinitely.

In federal courts on both sides of the Missouri River, courtrooms are essentially closed for an extended period of time.

District courts are scrambling to impanel the required number of prospective jurors without compromising the safety of the citizens. They are also scrambling to “ensure the constitutional rights of individuals” while balancing health concerns about spreading the virus. And then there’s  the media’s right to be inside a courtroom.

Technology has played a big part in ensuring the work inside the courthouse continues. In Nebraska, Douglas County District Judge Wheelock wasn’t physically inside the courtroom during a proceeding. Judge Wheelock “appeared” on a 50-inch courtroom monitor via Skype videoconferencing.

“For the record, the court will note that all parties are present in the courtroom,” Wheelock announced, “and I’m appearing literally from my living-room area.”

With AV Capture All solutions, courtrooms can still work as they normally do by using our AV Capture Judicial tools to record the Audio and Video of courtroom hearings. The Court Calendar or Docket is synchronized to the recording, with an option to publish public hearings online. If published, the docket is then indexed and becomes immediately searchable, allowing Court staff to save time by directing defendants or other interested parties to the website to view or order their recordings. If not published, court recordings can be easily located and burned to DVD.

For courts all over the county, we’re here to help during this health crisis. Click here to Request a Demo Today!