The architectural design of the Board Chambers presents several operational and acoustical challenges; affecting the audio experience for the audience. staff and Board of Directors. Staff has collaborated with consultants to determine the following:
Architectural Features Produces Audio Reflection and Reverb
I. Architectural Acoustic Issues
The layout and design of the architectural features produces audio reflection and reverb that is difficult to balance with the audio digital signal processors. This presents a challenge to the acoustical clarity and volume level. An acoustical engineering study is recommended to determine which acoustical tiles will improve the performance. Staff have received quotes between $2,200-$3,000 to perform the study (Recommendation 1A).
II. Audio Issues
A. Directional Speaking into the Microphones
Directional Speaking into the microphone is a common issue. This is a result of moving the microphone (to accommodate space for meeting material or meals) or not speaking directly into the microphone. While it is not necessary to lean in to speak, it is necessary to speak directly into the microphone. It is recommended to place fixed-mount microphones in front of each position. (Recommendation 2A).
B. Audio Clarity on the Dais
The positioning of the lectern on the left side of the room produces operational and audio issues. The tendency is for the Directors to face to the right towards the lectern, resulting in the lack of directional speaking into their microphones as well as being overlooked during requests to speak. This results in clarity issues for the Presenter, Directors, Audience and Staff.
One suggestion is to move the lectern to the front and center of the dais (Recommendation 2B); however this presents a potential obstructed view between the Directors and the audience as shown in Attachment A. It also obstructs Board photo opportunities as the position of the lectern prohibits photo space. The cost to move the lectern and associated audio/visual equipment is approximately $2,500.
Staff also recommends consideration of adding and augmenting of audio/visual equipment. The current video equipment cannot display HDMI content. The audio upgrade includes additional speakers above the dais, zoning and digital signal processors; as well as microphones at the Staff desk for ad hoc questions. Staff has received quotes ranging from $52,000-$60,000. This funding was included in the 2017 budget. (Recommendation 2C).
III. Operational Meeting Management Issues
A. Recording Motions/Votes
Due to the architectural issues and audio issues, as well as the meeting tempo, it requires several dedicated staff members to manually record the motions, amendments and votes real-time. Staff relies on an audible and visual vote from the Directors. Staff also reviews the recorded video to ensure accuracy during meetings by the person taking minutes.
The Township receives numerous requests regarding the voting history of individual Directors. This requires time consuming manual analysis by staff for each meeting. (The minutes are the official record of the votes and of Board actions, not the videos).
To ensure the accuracy of the meeting minutes and to improve efficiency, staff recommends the addition of the VoteLynx SE meeting management system which records votes, motion and amendment management, vote absenteeism's, member abstensions, and selectable agenda item actions. The system also displays the Board actions and votes in real-time. Each Director will utilize a touch screen to record their motion and vote. Staff has received a system quote for $11,481 with an annual support package of $2,000. (Recommendation 3A)