Syracuse Common Councilors began budget hearings this week over Mayor Ben Walsh’s proposed $245 million spending plan, and anyone can watch. It marks the start of live streaming of council activities, offering residents the chance to watch what happens on the city website, or YouTube channel.
Council President Helen Hudson says it’s about time it's easier for residents to watch government in action.
"It’s more transparency for one," Hudson said. "And now it gives the disabled community an opportunity, because it’s closed caption, and they’ll have an opportunity to follow along and be a part of city business.”
Technology is taking over council chambers in another way as well. All copies of the budget and future documents have been downloaded on tablets assigned to each lawmaker. When presenting his budget to lawmakers this week, Walsh said this is the last time a paper budget will be delivered to lawmakers.
"It’s going to be tremendous, because we print these books every two weeks and that’s hundreds of trees," Hudson said. "So now we can have everything on these tablets and we can follow along without killing the trees.”