KENAI, Alaska (AP) — If people want to testify at city council meetings in Soldotna, they will have to do it in person from now on.
The council decided last week it would end the city’s use of Zoom conferencing, the Peninsula Clarion reported.
Like many governmental bodies, the city began using Zoom as a response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Soldotna paid just over $3,000 for a Zoom subscription, which included a video webinar that could host up to 500 participants.
The City of Seward said in April it would no longer offer Zoom for meetings, but the City of Kenai and the Kenai Peninsula Borough currently use Zoom.
In a memo to the city council, Soldotna Mayor Paul Whitney said the need for video conferencing had decreased.
“The conditions that generated the need for two-way video conferencing have subsided, vaccinations are now available and public participation through video conferencing has decreased substantially, with no public interaction through zoom during the last three meetings,” Whitney wrote.
Whitney also said during last week’s meeting that the council will return to regular seating.
“Everyone will be back sitting up here like we had a year ago,” Whitney said. “We’ll be next to each other and we won’t be shouting across the room to hear each other.”