City council considers purchasing assistive listening devices for meetings
The public soon might be able to better hear dialogue in the Gahanna City Hall chambers.
During the June 25 council committee meeting, clerk Isobel Sherwood proposed that council spend $1,517 to purchase assisted listening devices.
She said sound quality has been an issue in council chambers for years, with most complaints coming from residents who have slight hearing impairments.
She has been researching solutions, she said, and suggests the purchase of assisted-listening equipment from Hilliard-based Ohio Valley AV World Class Presentation Solutions.
The equipment would include two assisted-listening receivers, $725; six over-the-ear headphones, $90; four additional receivers, $248; and job materials and labor, $454.
Sherwood said the expense could be financed from the council contingency fund that has been used for special projects over the years.
The account most recently was used in 2009 to authorize a donation to help sponsor an Honor Flight.
Sherwood said part of the sound problem in the chambers is the height of the council dais. In addition, if council members sit back in their chairs, away from microphones, the public can't hear them.
Council member Beryl Anderson said part of the problem is that members don't project their voices.
"We need to be more cognizant and project as giving a speech," she said.
Council member Ryan Jolley said the listening devices are a good idea. He asked when was the last time the city considered upgrading the entire system.
Sherwood said it would cost $25,000 to $30,000 to revamp the system. She said it would be more economical to redo the dais.
Sherwood said she hasn't determined the best way to inform meeting attendees of the listening aids. She said notification could be included on council's agenda, or a sign could be posted inside City Hall.
"We will have (headphones) available for citizens attending meetings who need that additional assistance," she said.
According to the Ohio Valley AV website, the proposed system meets the minimum requirements of the 2010 Americans with Disabilities Act standards for accessible design. In addition to ensuring that public facilities are compliant, the system helps solve common sound problems caused by distance, background noise or poor room acoustics.