A relatively small monetary cut to the Office of Communications and Marketing budget would restrict online public access to some city advisory board meetings, Director of Communications Jennifer Smart told the City Commission on Wednesday.
While the biggest budget cuts come from cutting one full-time and one part-time position in the department, Smart said they also were planning to eliminate closed captioning of advisory boards and other meetings.
The city provided captions for 15 advisory boards through the Florida Captioning Service. Dropping the captioning services for these meetings would save the city $37,000 but would, in turn, mean that the city would not be able to provide video on its website of those board meetings.
Under the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA), the city is expected to provide closed captioning for the videos that it posts to its website, Smart said. Posting the videos without captions would mean the city wouldn’t be in compliance with the reasonable accommodation expectations of the ADA.
However, the communications office would continue to provide captions and videos of all regularly scheduled City Commission meetings, including the general policy committee meetings, special meetings, workshops and joint meetings with other governmental bodies, Smart said.
A separate $26,000 cut would mean that individual commissioners could not conduct town hall meetings, but the city would still budget money for emergency town halls, like those that happened last year during hurricane season, according to the budget presentation.