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Limestone to buy new microphones to improve audio of meetings

LIMESTONE, Maine — In response to concerns raised by Limestone residents regarding the audio quality of meetings broadcast via the town’s public access channel, the selectmen voted unanimously to buy a set of eight microphones that would cover all five of them, the town manager and the podium, with a spare. 

While the purchase — at a cost of $294 — was not a scheduled agenda item, selectman Walt Elliott cited a discussion at a previous meeting in which it was mentioned that “so many people watch our community channel for meetings, and always complain about the audio.” He said he found a set of microphones online that would cover everyone at the meetings. They run on nine volt batteries and are each “individually controlled by a mixer.”

Selectman Pat St. Peter said the set seemed “awfully inexpensive,” and Town Manager Elizabeth Dickerson added that the relatively low cost could be covered by a cable franchise fee that is given back to the town by Spectrum.

Dickerson said Limestone received $11,000 from their cable provider, which would more than cover the expense of the microphones.

She also suggested some the fee could be set aside to potentially expand the town’s cable access offerings.

“I think local cable access is so important for the community,” Dickerson said. “We could create a local cable access corner of the budget.”

She said that the town “obviously doesn’t have to spend all that money,” but that it could be used to expand programming on the town’s local channel as well as opening up the possibility for online streaming of town events and meetings.

The board briefly discussed which municipal fund might be used to pay for the microphones, as Chairman Tom Albert said it technically could not be taken from the general fund since the microphone purchase wasn’t written into the current year’s budget. The funds could, however, be taken from another account such as administration.

The board members then voted unanimously to buy the microphones, and Dickerson indicated she would determine the proper account to use when making the purchase.

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