With one eye on the future and the other on the camera lense, the Salt Lake City Council Thursday approved $15,000 to install television lighting in council chambers under renovation in the City-County Building.
Council members said the lighting could fulfill future needs in the building while Salt Lake television editors said the move would give taxpayers better access to governmental decision-making.Two banks of lights will be installed flanking a portrait of Brigham Young to illuminate the council-seating area and another will shine from behind the council onto speakers addressing the chamber, City-County Building Project Manager Larry Migliaccio said.
The lighting will free the chamber of wiring and other equipment brought by television news stations and could ultimately be put to use should the council ever decide to televise meetings, Migliaccio told the council.
The council debated the issue at length but was able to muster a 4-1 vote for the funding, with Tom Godfrey voting against it and Alan Hardman abstaining.
Migliaccio said television stations will be responsible for installing video and audio cable valued at roughly $6,000.
KSL-TV Managing Editor Ernie Ford and KUTV News Director Mike Youngren said the cost of the lighting is justified by facilitating better news coverage for taxpayers and less distraction for council members.
Youngren said that the "clamor' created by TV crews installing and removing temporary lighting will be eliminated.