Audio recordings of Town of Vienna public meetings

I am recording and posting audio files for selected Town of Vienna public meetings.  Click on the individual pages, in the site menu, under this heading, to find those recordings.

The right of citizens to record these meetings is guaranteed by the Virginia Freedom of Information Act.

I am doing this because the Town does not record most of its meetings.  (See below for further explanation.)  Without something like this, for most Town of Vienna public meetings, you have to attend in person to know what was said, in any timely fashion.  The Town of Vienna does eventually publish minutes of these meetings, but often takes months to do so.

For all except my very first effort, there is a Google Drive link containing one or more mp3s, and an Excel workbook that is a guide to what was said, when, during the meeting.  Times were recorded to the whole minute, so you may have to listen to a minute of the recording to hear the part that I noted. You may occasionally have to back up a minute to catch the correct audio.

I try to produce a clear recording by using a “shotgun” microphone, then cleaning up the results with Audacity sound-processing software.  I remove noise, amplify the overall sound level, and then compress the results to reduce variation in loudness.  If a speaker is particularly soft-voiced, I will selectively over-amplify that portion of the recording.  The results should be much clearer than (e.g.) simply recording with a cell phone.


Background

The Town of Vienna records and broadcasts only the legally-defined “meetings” of the Town Council and the Planning Commission.  In effect, those “meetings” are the sessions when those bodies might vote on something. 

When the Town records a meeting, you can watch live on Cox (channel 37) or Verizon TV (channel 28), or streaming at this URL, (but Chrome was the only browser I could get to work with that URL.)  You can also eventually see video of past meetings via links on the Town website.   Again, Chrome is the only browser I could get to work with those recordings.

Legally defined official “meetings” are just a small subset of all public meetings by the relevant bodies.  Various meetings that are not recorded or broadcast include:

  • Town Council work sessions.
  • Planning Commission work sessions.
  • All meetings of the Board of Architectural Review
  • All meetings of other potentially relevant bodies (e.g., Transportation Safety Commission, which has a lot to say about sidewalks, road signs, crosswalks and similar.)

The Town does eventually post the minutes of these meetings, but often only much later.  For example, as of 2/19/2019, the most most recently available minutes for the Board of Architectural review date to 10/12/2018, more than three months ago.

In the interest of transparency, I have decided to start recording as many of these other meetings as I can, and posting the resulting audio via Google Drive.  This way, anyone who wants to know what was said, in a timely fashion, can just download the audio and listen.  Click the pages in the menu, below this page, to find the locations of the various files.