The Herkimer County Community College president says the broadcasting has been halted because of financial issues and student availability. But some community members don't think this is the case. They say the public has a right to these taped telecasts and they are are not taking this issue lightly.
"There has been no indecent language, there's certainly been heated debate. Democracy can be messy but it's important that we have that public debate," says Helen Rose, Herkimer County legislator.
For the last 15 years, college students have taped the legislature meetings and aired them on Time Warner channel 99. Some legislators say the telecasts serve as a liaison between the legislature and the community.
"A lot of my constituents enjoy sitting at home, watching the meetings on television versus coming to meetings and sitting through 2 hours of the meeting in an uncomfortable chair," says
Robert Schrader, Herkimer County legislator.
"It helps keep them involved. In a word, it's transparency," says Rose.
But The Herkimer County Community College president says it's not that simple.
"There haven't been as many students available to participate. The faculty has been focusing them in other areas. So it has become a problem to find someone to be here in the summer," Ann Marie Murray, Herkimer County Community College president.
And without students recording, she says they would have to hire employees which means spending more money.
"There are labor costs and operational costs and as we know, we all have had to tighten our budgets so i have fewer people that are available to do this," says Murray.
But one county legislator says there are other ways to broadcast the meetings and without spending college money.
"The Citizens Group are recording them and they're doing it with volunteers. They turn it on when the programs starts and they turn it off when it adjourns," says Rose.
Rose says the Citizens Group has brought these taped DVDs to the college the last few months, but the college has not run them on channel 99. The college president says they've never received these DVDs. And, even still, she says there are liability issues.
"We're waiting to hear some legal opinions about liability. The college can not really afford to defend itself on any frivolous lawsuits," says Murray.
Now no resolution has been offered at this point. But the Herkimer County legislature says the issue must go through the Ways and Means committee. Then, it has to pass another committee before any further action is taken.