Aldermen question cable provider’s decreased payment 9/24/2013

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Aldermen question cable provider’s decreased payment

By John Howell Sr.
City officials questioned Cable One’s franchise fee paid during the third quarter after it dropped from $7,000 to $8,000 to $2,700.

“I’m hoping it’s a mistake,” one alderman said during the Sept. 17 meeting of the mayor and aldermen.

The mayor and aldermen have been considering a new franchise agreement with the media services provider. Cable One in July asked the city for a new 15-year franchise agreement. Cable One pays the city three percent of sales as a franchise fee, which totals about $33,000 annually, Cable One representative Sandy Melton said. For several years there has been no franchise agreement between the city and Cable One. Cable One has continued to pay the three percent, she said.

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The mayor and aldermen have not reached a decision, but most have expressed their objections to a 15-year franchise agreement.

“We need something in place,” assistant City Attorney Colmon Mitchell told the mayor and aldermen.

In other city business:

• The mayor and aldermen turned down a request for Batesville firefighters to join Chili’s Restaurant in a roadblock to raise funds for a charity. The elected officials told Fire Chief Tim Taylor that they did not want to set a precedent of allowing pedestrians to solicit funds in moving traffic;

• Approved Civic Center Director Roy Hyde’s recommendation to building a fence between Civic Center property and property purchased by Tri-Lakes Medical Center for the construction of medical offices;

• City Code Administrator Pam Comer said that she had heard only one response after mailing draft copies of a proposed contractor’s manual to 30 people. The manual is intended to provide a simplified overview of necessary permitting steps and procedures for construction in the city;

• Approved a cleanup of property at 206 Miller Street. The vacant lot has been sold for taxes;

• Approved for the two percent raise budgeted for city employees to become effective starting Oct. 1.