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Moundsville City Council Returns to In-Person Meetings, Will Stop Streaming Meetings Online

Moundsville’s municipal building reopened to the public Monday in response to improving COVID-19 numbers around the Ohio Valley. That means, for the first time in months, Moundsville’s city council meeting will be held in person tonight.

However, due to audio problems, the meeting will not be broadcast at the same time over Zoom, as the meetings have been. Previous meetings were held over the web video conferencing platform from council members’ homes; however, with the return to the council chambers, the online stream will not be held.

City Manager Rick Healy said the stream simply couldn’t accommodate the acoustics of the council chambers, leading to times where council members were inaudible, making the meeting impossible to follow.

“The biggest problem for us is that when we tried to do Zoom before, the audio was just terrible,” Healy said. “It actually harmed us more than it helped us, because people logged on to watch. We tried Facebook Live, that didn’t work either. The room is just not set well for audio to go through well.”

Healy said the council chambers’ capacity of 25 people would likely be ample to support the typical crowd sizes of meetings, even when about half of that number consisted of council members and other administrative staff.

“We made the decision that it was probably better to … not do it than to do it. We think our maximum (capacity) of 25 is sufficient for the number of people who usually come, I don’t think it’s going to cut anyone out. … If you count everyone that needs to be there — council, me, the attorney — I think we’re at 13, and that leaves room for 12 people. That should be sufficient.”

The city building was tentatively planned to reopen in February, but the trend of COVID-19 cases did not sufficiently improve by the end of January to warrant a safe reopening. However, over previous weeks, COVID cases in Marshall County have gone down significantly, to only a handful of cases each day.

The council meeting will begin at 7 p.m.

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