Glenville protests cable company fee
GLENVILLE Glenville officials have sent a cease-and-desist letter to Time Warner Cable, telling the company to stop passing through 5 percent of its franchise fee to customers instead of the 2 percent specified in the contract.
Supervisor Chris Koetzle confirmed that the letter was sent on March 30.
If there is no action, Koetzle said the town is prepared to take the step of contacting the state’s Public Utility Commission or the Federal Communications Commission. The last option would be to file a lawsuit.
“We’re really hopeful it doesn’t get to that,” he said.
At issue is what the town says is an estimated $1.3 million in franchise fees Time Warner pays to operate in the town that the company passes through to its customers. The issue came to town officials’ attention through an alert resident as the town was prepared to sign a new 10-year pact with the company.
Time Warner officials have said that they are legally allowed to pass through 5 percent to customers based on federal law and court regulations.
The town disagrees.
“There’s nothing prohibiting a municipality [from] creating a contract that would set a limit lower than that,” Koetzle said.
As for how subscribers would be reimbursed, Koetzle said the cable company should have records of customers for at least the last 10 years. Beyond that, the records are probably not reliable.
Using the rough number of 7,500 cable customers, that could amount to a rebate of about $175 per customer.
In a statement, Time Warner spokeswoman Lara Pritchard said their attorneys have carefully reviewed the request and a response is en route to the town.
“We have been very up front, both publicly and in person with the town on our position — this issue is controlled by federal law, which permits a pass-through of all franchise fees. We will continue to work with the town to resolve as quickly as possible,” she wrote in an email.
In other business, the town agreed to hire County Waste at a cost not to exceed $9,990 to do its bulk item pickup program for Glenville residents outside of the village. The pickup will run from May 2 through May 6.
Items should be placed at the curb on April 30 or May 1. Crews will make only one pass through the town, according to a press release from the town. No items should be placed in the roadway.
Acceptable items are furniture; rugs and carpets that are less than 4 feet and rolled and tied; wood no longer than 4 feet and bundled and tied; metal items no longer than 6 feet; grills with no propane tanks; and sinks, toilets and tubs. Appliances such as washers, dryers, hot water tanks, stoves, dishwashers and refrigerators must be placed in a separate pile with the doors removed.
Items that are not acceptable are recyclables, household trash, tree stumps or brush, tires, paints, stains, sealers and solvents, chemicals, aerosol cans, propane tanks, motor oils or fuels or computers, monitors, keyboards or televisions.
People with questions are encouraged to contact the Public Works Department at 382-1406.