BAXTER -- What would viewers say if faced with a choice of watching CBS' "Survivor" or Baxter City Council?
Don Waldermarsen, Inglewood Drive, did not think the council would pick up viewers. He told council members Tuesday if people were interested they would come to city hall for the meeting or be at home watching "The Amazing Race."
"You'd be surprised," Baxter council member Barb Wells said.
Council member Mary Marana pointed out the two would not be going head-to-head as the council meets Tuesdays and "Survivor" airs Thursdays.
Waldermarsen was not convinced. He said televising council meetings would be a waste of money.
Whether to budget money to televise Baxter City Council meetings is one issue the council has yet to decide.
In November, the council unanimously directed staff to look for funds that could be used toward buying the equipment for televising council meetings, and to have that information back to the council by Jan. 1.
It was a flip-flop of a September majority vote against televising meetings because of the expense. The city currently communicates with residents through a newsletter and its Web site. At the time of the September vote, it was estimated the cost of televising meetings would be about $30,000. Cost to the average Baxter homeowner, using the levy for the funds, was estimated to be a half percent or $6.
At one time Baxter spoke of using the Brainerd City Council chambers, already set for televised meetings, in December as a sort of trial balloon to gauge resident interest. Brainerd Mayor James Wallin offered the use of the chambers.
Last month, the council directed Baxter City Administrator Larry Kruse to speak with his counterpart in Brainerd about the possibility of using Brainerd's chambers. Brainerd City Administrator Dan Vogt said today he has not heard from Baxter regarding use of the council chambers to televise a Baxter City Council meeting.
Kruse said he initially talked to Vogt about the offer and reported back to the Baxter City Council.
"They were aware the offer has been made," Kruse said today.
Kruse said he has not contacted Brainerd since then as he is waiting for a council decision.
Baxter staffers estimated there are roughly 500 customers in the city served by Charter Communications' cable system. The city's population from the census is 5,555.
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