Rather than driving out to Monroe Town Hall to watch board meetings, residents may be able to pop some popcorn, grab a soda, settle into an easy chair and watch the action from the comfort of their own living rooms. Michael Muttitt wants to start Monroe Government television on Charter.
"There are numerous benefits to having the town broadcast town meetings," Muttitt told the Town Council at a meeting held earlier this month. "I think you would be surprised how many people will watch it to catch up on the town issues, learn about the budget or different developments around town."
Muttitt, who's an Inland Wetlands commissioner in town, believes viewers' interest in town government will increase and that some may even be moved to become more involved in the community.
While growing up in Orange, Muttitt served on a committee to start Orange Government Access Television (OGAT) at age 14.
"Orange Government Access Television started very simple with a couple volunteers from an adhoc committee and a couple cameras," he recalled. "After some small investment by the town and some grants by their cable company, they quickly grew and started recording all Board of Selectman, TPZ and Finance meetings."
OGAT reaches every Cablevision subscriber in Orange and Muttitt's wife is now its assistant coordinator, working with coordinator, Ron Davis, in taping and broadcasting meetings.
"I would like to propose that Monroe begin to explore starting Monroe Government television," Muttitt said.
In talking to fellow residents, Muttitt learned how Monroe explored the idea before, but due to limited resources, the town only managed to broadcast Board of Education meetings with the help of Masuk High School equipment and students.
"Unlike when OGAT started, there is now a grant that is available for those government organizations that are wishing to start developing programming for a government access channel," Muttitt said, "the PEGPETIA Grant."
The first step in the process is to appoint a town representative to Charter's Cable Advisory Council to learn more about what some other towns are doing and of the possibilities for Monroe, according to Muttitt.
"I would like to volunteer to serve on this council for Monroe," he said. "Currently, Monroe has no members listed as representing our town."