The Soldotna City Council convenes on Wednesday, April 13, 2022 in Soldotna, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)

The Soldotna City Council convenes on Wednesday, April 13, 2022 in Soldotna, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)

Soldotna council voices support for continued use of Zoom

The city implemented two-way video conferencing in response to the COVID-19 pandemic

Soldotna City Council members want to keep offering Zoom services for city meetings. The body will formally consider an action memorandum Wednesday that would authorize the use of two-way video conferencing moving forward.

The City of Soldotna, like many municipalities on the Kenai Peninsula, implemented two-way video conferencing in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The service allows council members and city administrators, as well as members of the public, to participate remotely in city meetings.

Acting Soldotna City Clerk Brekke Hewitt wrote in an April 13 memo to council members that the council first directed city administration to make two-way video conferencing available in July 2020. The city voted to discontinue video conferencing in June 2021, but reintroduced the services the following month in response to the delta variant of COVID-19.

Soldotna City Council member Jordan Chilson told council members during the body’s April 13 meeting that the implementation of Zoom’s video services makes Soldotna’s meetings more accessible to members of the public and to council members.

“I feel like we were really lagging behind other legislative bodies in the way they make themselves accessible to the public,” Chilson said.

Soldotna Vice Mayor Lisa Parker agreed.

“Particularly for video conferencing, I see this is something that we’re going to continue to do for years going forward,” Parker said.

Zoom is also currently used by the City of Kenai, by the Kenai Peninsula Borough and by the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District Board of Education. The City of Seward announced last spring that it would no longer offer Zoom services for city meetings.

The Soldotna City Council’s Wednesday meeting will be streamed live via Zoom.

Reach reporter Ashlyn O’Hara at ashlyn.ohara@peninsulaclarion.com.

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