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SPECIAL MEETING OF THE COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF NOVI
MONDAY, NOVEMBER 20, 2000 AT 7:00 PM
NOVI CIVIC CENTER Ė COUNCIL CHAMBERS Ė 45175 W. TEN MILE ROAD
Mayor Clark called the meeting to order at 7:06 PM.
PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE
ROLL CALL: Mayor Clark, Mayor ProTem Lorenzo, Council Members Bononi, Crawford, Csordas, DeRoche and Kramer/absent.
APPROVAL OF AGENDA
CM-00-11-363 Moved by Crawford, seconded by Lorenzo; CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY: To approve the Agenda as presented.
Vote on CM-00-11-363 Yeas: Clark, Lorenzo, Bononi, Crawford, Csordas
Absent: DeRoche, Kramer
PURPOSE OF SPECIAL MEETING
Study Session to review Cable Television Franchise Agreement between the City of Novi and Time Warner.
Mayor Bill Hartsock, Farmington, was present and commended Member Crawford for his work on the Cable Commission and the negotiating team. They had spent three years negotiating the contract and it was ready for Council consideration. He recognized Mr. Klaver, Caren Collens, Executive Director for S.W.O.C.C. and John Donohue, Special Counsel. He pointed out that it was difficult to negotiate anything when they did not have equal partners at the table. He was speaking specifically about what authority had been granted to the commission relative to the F.C.C. and Congress. There were many things they had hoped to accomplish through the contract that were not offered in terms of negotiations such as channel line-ups, programming and fee structure. There were significant things, particular to our communities, such as structure, makeup and funding for local access which were a high priority, and they were satisfied with the outcome of those negotiations. Member Crawford had fought diligently for universal access and it was an important aspect of the negotiations.
Caren Collens, S.W.O.C.C., advised Council that as a part of the cable re-franchising process the S.W.O.C.C. attorney had drafted a new ordinance to provide general regulation of cable television providers. It was necessary to deal with changes in federal regulation and changes in the cable industry that had occurred since 1982. The ordinance would be applicable to the current franchise and any future franchises. It addressed franchise fees paid to local governments, process of franchise application, authority of the S.W.O.C.C. right-of-way usage, franchise transfers and other controls relating to the actual construction of the cable system. It was the Ordinance for Re-franchising and Regulation of Cable Television Systems. They also brought to Councilís attention the Cable Television Franchise Agreement between the City of Novi and Time Warner Entertainment Advance Newhouse Partnership. S.W.O.C.C. had been in negotiations with Time Warner Cable for over three years and an agreement had been reached. The S.W.O.C.C. was recommending to the City Councils of Farmington, Farmington
Hills and Novi that the agreement be accepted. She commended the members of the commission.
The proposed agreement included new benefits, which were in the outline provided to Council. It would be a 15 year contract and included provisions for technical testing to assure the
system remains state of the art. The contract was non-exclusive and would allow competitors to enter the communities and obtain a franchise.
Member Csordas asked if a 15-year agreement was typical? Mr. Donohue, S.W.O.C.C. attorney, commented it was not A-typical and was more lengthy than some renewals depending on the community and the location. They felt that with the guarantees and the way the fee structure was presented that a 15-year term was appropriate. Member Csordas agreed.
Member Csordas asked what was "stronger and more enforceable penalties to protect
citiesí rights" under #5 Additional Provisions? Mr. Donohue said this made sure if there were
violations of the agreement there were clearly defined penalties that the municipalities and
Time Warner could anticipate. They have a letter of credit that can be drawn on if there are
violations determined. This information is on page 36 of the Franchising Regulation
Ordinance. Mr. Donohue gave examples of these penalties, which were on page 19 of the
same agreement. The amount of the letter is $50,000 and the time frame to present it would
depend upon the specific violation of the agreement. Upon determination of the violation the
affidavit would be presented immediately and if there is a draw on the letter of credit they are
required to replenish it to keep it at $50,000. Member Csordas asked if the Reports to the City
regarding gross revenues, computation of franchise fee, number of subscribers and annual
report were certified? Mr. Donohue said it was a certified gross revenue statement. Member
Csordas asked Member Crawford if he thought this was a good agreement for the City.
Member Crawford said it was.
Mark Adler, resident, questioned the intention of item #4 of the summary regarding "Amount not to be deducted from franchise fees, but may be passed through to subscribers." Would this be passed onto subscribers as discounts? He was also interested in what would happen with the studios.
The document indicated that school systems would be where they are now in terms of sharing a lot of channels. Ms. Collens had clarified this for him but it was not listed in the document. He wanted clarification on whether the systems would be using narrow casting. Digital channels are mentioned and they could trade an analog channel for two digital channels. He asked if that was what they meant by narrow casting? It looked like that would not happen according to the franchise document. If public/government access needed new channels the only way to get it would be with the digitally compressed channels.
In reading the document Time Warner was not involved in what the studios do now. No more workshops, staff, training, access support, etc. Would we use their studio? There is money to build a studio to accommodate our needs for production/post production, training, etc.
There was $18,000 to purchase a piece of equipment several years ago by Farmington Hills that was supposed to be paid back to S.W.O.C.C. when the franchise was renewed and he asked where that money was? He asked when the cable modems would be available? Also, commented that HDTV was not addressed anywhere in the document and there were a lot of issues involved with HDTV.
Member Crawford noted the pass through issue was a delicate issue and they had struggled with it for weeks and it contributed to prolonging the negotiations. A much tougher contract could have been negotiated in many areas but the pass through issue was of great concern to them. They could have demanded and ended up all looking bad including Time Warner if rates would have had to be raised to compensate for whatever was asked for. The level playing field language was an issue about letting competition in and what would they be offered and what would be done to the current provider.
Mr. Hartsock said there were a lot of legislative and legal issues to be addressed. The fact of the matter was this contract was not available in terms of negotiating national or legal issues. They fought very hard to carry MGTV, a government station. Over the years Congress gave and took away certain powers and authority where basically most of our concerns were not available to negotiate. They focused on service, commitment from the provider and local access. In the new contract there is a significant difference in how local access is funded and managed. Now, there are two studios one under Time Warner and one under S.W.O.C.C. Initially, it was thought S.W.O.C.C. would be responsible for governmental access and Time Warner would run local access. It was confusing to the residents so it was put under S.W.O.C.C. with a commitment from Time Warner of 1% of the franchise fees to help support it. Under the old contract Time Warner provided an equipment grant that was about $900,000. The 1% over the next 15 years would cover everything. The entire overhead, including the equipment, would far exceed the $900,000 commitment they had from Time Warner. This contract gave a higher priority to local access.
Member Bononi asked what had been conceded for this agreement?
Mr. Donohue responded Federal law mandated most of the concessions, such as rate regulation, ability to dictate technology to be met by the franchisee and requirements for specific state of the art technology. They relented in some of the language regarding specific permit requirements and indicated they would not be held to any other permits that were not required of any other entity occupying the public right-of-way. A provision was negotiated regarding transfers. In the definition of gross revenues included was advertising revenues and revenues from the home shopping channels. To secure those we conceded they would not be responsible for the cost incurred by S.W.O.C.C. or the communities in reviewing any proposed transfer of the franchise. We gave up the ability to recoup costs incurred in transfers. We felt it was economically responsible given the revenues gained from home shopping and advertising.
Member Bononi was concerned, regarding #4 of proposed renewal, the word may in " but may be passed through to subscribers" and asked who would decide that?
Mr. Donohue advised it was a matter of a Federal Communications Commission regulation. It meant that the amount that a cable company provides public access would be permitted to be
passed through to the customer when Time Warner calculated their maximum allowable rate under F.C.C. rules. They donít have to charge the consumer that 1% but are allowed to add it to their cost basis when their rate calculations are approved by the F.C.C.
Member Bononi asked when the funds were passed through who decided how they would be distributed? Mr. Donohue said the cost would be passed through to the consumer who would pay the additional cost on their monthly bill. Member Bononi asked why we would want to do that? Mr. Donohue said we donít but it was permitted under F.C.C. rules and we canít stop them from doing it. Member Bononi felt there should be other areas to compensate for this indirectly. Mr. Donohue was not aware of any that would reduce the cost to the consumer in a manner that would affect the rates that Time Warner would ultimately charge to them.
Member Bononi asked what local municipalities get cable modem service from Time Warner now? Mr. Donohue said Redford Township. She asked why we did not have it. Mr. Donohue felt it was a private corporate decision that Time Warner had made. There was nothing in the current franchise that would prohibit them from bringing on cable modem or Internet access and nothing in the agreement that specifically mandated it except when it became economically and technologically feasible. He thought they would provide it as a result of the approval of these agreements. Member Bononi asked when? Mr. Donohue didnít know. Member Bononi commented this was a real concern of many people who had contacted her. People were not satisfied with this and not happy that there was no commitment and she was not either.
Member Bononi said Time Warner had agreed to provide the capabilities and channels that we have now so we are not looking for improvement along anybodyís timeline that anybody had committed to in regard to, i.e., programming and there is no timeline for cable modem. Mr. Donohue said that was correct. Member Bononi said the agreement would provide for continuation of the plumbing system but the water coming out of the faucet would be the same. Mr. Donohue said yes.
Member Bononi said on page 3, 2.4 of the Cable Agreement, it said the franchise would not deprive the City of any powers, rights, etc. with regard to performing work in the controlled area, Cityís right of ways covered by the franchise including without limitation the right to perform work on its roadways. She asked if a competitor would have to jointly utilize those same areas? Mr. Donohue replied yes.
Member Bononi, on page 4, 2.8 of #2, asked why it would be to the Cityís benefit to have a 15 year franchise agreement with someone who was basically deciding to give the City status quo with regard to current programming and level of service excepting the public and local access.
Mr. Donohue responded they believed that the way that the franchise fee plus the 1% public access fee was structured they were guaranteed to have increased revenues over the period of time consistent with the increase in revenues that Time Warner obtained. If Time Warner succeeded in growing to serve the future growth in Novi and succeeded in obtaining the Internet access our revenues would increase consistently with that. It was a better method of securing revenues than seeking a fixed sum to support capital equipment for public or
governmental access. Having that guarantee over a period of 15 years allowed the communities to project and budget their needs for the improvements they wanted to make in
areas of public access. Time Warner would not commit to giving 1% of their gross revenues with a shorter franchise time period.
Member Bononi asked Mr. Donohue to explain the last sentence on page 6, 6.3, which read "It is understood that existing and proposed specific upstream uses for the local government, educational and public access channels will be continued or activated in accordance with this agreement." Mr. Donohue responded it was the provision for Time Warner to provide cable modem or Internet access. The provision of the Internet access would not impact on the requirements otherwise provided in the agreement. A significant improvement that would occur as a result of the agreement was the provision of an optic fiber system between the production facilities and the studio at Time Warner. If they provide Internet they are not relieved of their other obligations.
Member Bononi asked if reception would improve? Mr. Donohue said as a result of the specific improvements in the fiber optic cable there would be improvements in the government and educational programs. The system as a whole would meet or exceed minimum F.C.C. standards, which was the most they could require and would provide a good production quality. Member Bononi commented that the quality of our service regarding reception alternated from very good to really awful and she did not see any commitment to improve this.
Member Bononi, page 8, 6.8.2 regarding multiple dwelling unit installation, asked if Time Warner had a policy in process by which they do this in a manner consistent with regard to how they do the job? Mr. Donohue said she would have to ask Time Warner.
Member Bononi, page 9, 6.8.5, referred to a 90-day installation to the proposed service to commercial, industrial and non-residential subscribers and asked if he thought it an appropriate lead-time? Mr. Donohue replied he thought so given the fact that Time Warner did not presently have cable optic cable serving most potential commercial, industrial and non-resident subscribers. The major industrial parks and office corridors have not offered the demand for cable television service that had led them to wire those areas. Once Internet access was provided they believed there would be significant demand for it and would require new wiring for it.
Member Bononi, page 14, 7.4, PEG Support asked how he projected the 1% per year over the term of the agreement? Mr. Donohue noted over 15 years it would generate approximately $3 million assuming todayís revenues.
Member Bononi, page 14, 7.5, regarding payment of all costs, asked if $5,000 would be enough to do a quality job. Mr. Donohue said yes.
Member Bononi, page 14, 7.7, Interconnection with other Municipalities, second paragraph, asked what "all reasonable efforts" meant? Mr. Donohue said it was a matter of Councilís collective judgement in the event they fail to provide it. She said this would not be acceptable as she would be looking for an explaination of what they were intending to do in order to get there. She asked to see something more than "reasonable efforts".
Member Bononi, page 16, 7.9, regarding emergency messages within 6 months of the effective date, felt this was a long time and asked for it sooner. Mr. Donohue said no.
Member Bononi asked what 8.2 on page 17 meant? Mr. Donohue said if Time Warner decided to make additional payments in support of the use of community programming they
are free to do so and that expenditure could not be deducted from the amount owed on the franchise fee.
Member Bononi had very real reservations about some of the items included in this contract.
Member DeRoche asked why "reasonable efforts" was used consistently throughout the document? Mr. Donohue said the basic tenor throughout the negotiations was to seek specific commitments for delivery of services at a specific time. Time Warner resisted those for various reasons through various provisions. Mr. Donohue said they did not have the technological knowledge to say it could be done within 90 days or six months so it must be done within that time. Member DeRoche asked if Time Warner was saying no because they had been legislatively empowered by the government to not have to provide what we are asking? Mr. Donohue said yes and also, built into the Federal system regulations is a presumption that a cable television company was entitled to a renewal of its franchise and that the burden of proving that a franchise should not be renewed rests with the community.
Member DeRoche commented it is our burden of proof to kick them out of our City and we tried to build a case to do this or use it to negotiate and we failed. Mr. Donohue said that would have to be determined by a judge whether there was enough information gathered to support that. He was not willing to concede that we didnít until the whole process broke down because we might end up back in court. It is a very difficult burden for a municipality to prove that.
Member DeRoche asked what Time Warnerís upside and downside was? Mr. Donohue said for them the renewable franchise triggered an additional 1% cost to be passed onto the community. It is not retroactive. They are now paying a 5% franchise fee annually. When this contract is approved they would pay 6%, which they might or might not pass on to the consumer based upon what they believe they could get and what the competition was.
Mr. Donohue said the downside was they did need to reach a conclusion or they would assume significant legal costs, as would the communities. It would be of value to them to have a 15-year contract so that they had some certainty during that period and could factor that into needed capital improvements for Internet access.
Member DeRoche asked if holding up the contract could be holding up some services to the communities? Mr. Donohue said Time Warner says that but there was nothing in the current franchise that would have prohibited them from making that commitment. He was skeptical that the delay in negotiation of the agreement led to the delay in the delivery of Internet services. He thought there were other corporate issues at heart.
Member DeRoche asked why they would not bring it in when there were a lot of people and they could make money in this community? Mr. Donohue didnít know. Member DeRoche asked what the Cityís up side would be to signing the contract? Mr. Donohue thought there were significant benefits such as the line extension policies. We would go from a requirement
of a density of 30 units per mile for residential subscribers to 20 units per mile. People in the Novi School District would be able to get access of Novi School Productions 7-days a week
24-hours a day. They would not be sharing any educational access channels with other school districts. There would be a significant increase in fund for public access with the 1% growth revenue increase. He thought those items summarized on the new benefits outline were significant.
Member DeRoche asked if they would implement the new Emergency Response System without a contract? Mr. Donohue said no.
Member DeRoche asked if there was any limit to competition in the contract? Mr. Donohue said no it was a non-exclusive contract and was open to any competitor to meet the application requirements. The level playing field language should not present any problem to competitors. They would have to agree to serve the entire community, provide the 5% franchise fee and the 1% gross revenue fee.
Member DeRoche asked if there was anything to prohibit a telecommunications company coming in and offering DSL? Mr. Donohue said there was not. Member DeRoche said it would be very easy to vote no on this contract because he was not happy with the way Time Warner treated this City. He did see some upside to this for residents and schools and thought the technology was changing at such a pace that if we wrap up this contract there isnít any inhibitor here to competition. He didnít see enough downside to hold off on this and did not want to lose the revenues and he wanted to challenge the company to perform some of the things they said they would perform.
Mayor Pro Tem Lorenzo concurred with the concerns and disappointments of Members Bononi and DeRoche and she felt it favored Time Warner. She did not think the 1% of gross revenue was a benefit since it was not being deducted from franchise fees but would probably be passed on to subscribers. If Council agreed to the contract she thought it would increase the cost to subscribers and she would not agree to that. She would rather deduct that 1% out of the 5% and dedicate it to P.E.G. with the commitment that there would not be pass through to subscribers and unless changed she would not support it.
She agreed the status quo was being maintained with the contract. She had no commitment for cable modem, she would pay the 1% for P.E.G. and asked what benefits as a subscriber was she going to see through this contract?
Mr. Donohue responded that they had secured to the extent they were permitted to by Federal law and as much protection as possible for the community members and S.W.O.C.C. Federal law prohibits us from dictating or negotiating the technology a provider used.
Mayor Pro Tem Lorenzo said Council had not received a spreadsheet or outline of what was requested and what was received. She thought they had requested a total new fiber optic system throughout the communities. Mr. Donohue said no that was not correct. When Metro Vision transferred the franchise to Time Warner in 1995 they made a commitment to secure approval of the transfer to build the system to the system as described in the new contract. That was and remains the highest level of technology present today. They have built that system and it is in place except for the extensions that would go out to serve the growth in the
community and hopefully along the industrial, commercial and office areas. They could write an agreement and Time Warner could sign an agreement but if we try to enforce it they could
invoke the Telecommunications Act of 1996 and walk away from its commitment and this agreement.
Mr. Donohue said it was their recommendation that Council consider this, their projection and the committeeís projection, as being the communityís need to support public access. She stated she was not disputing the need for P.E.G. but was disputing where the funds would be coming from. She noted he was asking the subscribers to pay for the equipment and technology needed to operate the system. Mr. Donohue said yes, and that would occur in any way that the agreement was negotiated.
Mayor Pro Tem Lorenzo asked if there was another way to fund the 1% and would it be possible to take the 1% out of the franchise fee and dedicate it to P.E.G.?
Mr. Donohue commented this was a policy issue for Council. It could be done but of the 5% franchise fee now 2% was going to public education and governmental access and 3% went to the communities. S.W.O.C.C. operates on 2% of the 5% plus the contributions Time Warner had made in terms of capital equipment and studio support over the previous 15 years. The costs of that have been passed through to the subscribers. With the 1% there would be an overall increase in revenues. The public support had always been an element of the cost that is passed through to the customers. Mr. Donohue noted they could try to chart this out to see what the impact was. Mayor Pro Tem Lorenzo said she would like that. She thought there was not a lot of accountability regarding costs in this contract. As we get further into the contract it stated we would take 40% of the franchise fee and give it to S.W.O.C.C. The franchise fee is paid to the municipalities for the use of the right-of-way. Mr. Donohue commented that was the constitutional basis on which Council voted the franchise fee. Mayor Pro Tem Lorenzo said then it was the municipalityís money and we could do whatever we want with it. Mr. Donohue said the 5% was the maximum permitted under Federal law and Council could use it at their discretion.
Mayor Pro Tem Lorenzo said P.E.G. had been operating with 2% of gross revenues and now they need 3% in order to purchase the equipment and operate. Mr. Donohue said 2% of the 5% was dedicated to P.E.G. plus, under the current franchise, Time Warner had maintained a studio and engaged in staff, production assistance and training of public access. She said then the 1% was to make up for the loss of their studio, services, production, etc., so 3% was now needed to operate P.E.G. Mr. Donohue said that was correct. She wanted to see a budget for that along with comparables. She would not support a contract that would give a percentage to S.W.O.C.C. without any accountability. They should be presenting and defending a budget for each of the items they need. She asked how much of the S.W.O.C.C. 2% went to administration and P.E.G. She wanted answers before this came back to Council regarding all these questions plus a break down outline of all the things requested from Time Warner, what was received and what was not. Also, what improvement would she see in terms of programming and quality and what happened if the contract was not approved?
Mr. Donohue said Council was obligated under the City Charter and under Federal rules to proceed through the "renewal process". If there was a break down in a negotiated agreement they would go forward with a formal hearing process. In late 1999 Council established a panel to hear and determine whether Time Warner had satisfactorily responded to the municipalityís
Request for Proposals. That formal process would go forward and it had been that specter that had contributed in part to bringing the parties to a negotiated agreement. It was a very
expensive proposition and they felt the negotiated agreement provided much more to the community than even the Request for Proposal.
Mayor Pro Tem Lorenzo asked if the money would be passed along to subscribers even if received in a lump sum? Mr. Donohue said yes because Federal allowed it. Mayor Pro Tem Lorenzo thought Council should look at the whole agreement between municipalities and the creation of S.W.O.C.C.
Member Crawford requested that Ms. Collens address the budget process at S.W.O.C.C. and the accountability. There are three City Managers on S.W.O.C.C. and they go through a budget process as a sub-committee and then they present it to the whole committee for approval. There was accountability. They did not get 2% of the franchise fee and do whatever they want with it. It had been submitted to all the Councils for their review and questions. He said the 5% was already a pass through fee and like it or not it did say "may" but it would be Time Warner that decided to pass it through not S.W.O.C.C. He noted it would be extremely difficult to come up with a chart of what was requested and what was received because there had been so many things on and off the table with a multitude of reasons why they were there or not. There had been different court cases throughout the country that had bearings on this contract.
Caren Collens, S.W.O.C.C., commented, regarding the pass through, the expenses that Time Warner incurs for access are already embedded in their rates. S.W.O.C.C. felt it was beneficial to have a sharing of resources and to receive the funds as long as Time Warner was going to pass through or embedded those in the rates so that they could serve the community the way S.W.O.C.C. felt best. Regarding the budget issue, she stated S.W.O.C.C. had a relationship with Farmington Hills for data processing, payables, receivables and payroll. Therefore, they go through the Farmington Hills budget procedure and follow all of their rules so they are accountable to their rules through S.W.O.C.C. They provide a budget annually and present it to the sub-committee of the City Managers who examine it and return it. It is restructured and taken back before the full S.W.O.C.C. Board and changes are made based on S.W.O.C.C.ís needs.
Mayor Pro Tem Lorenzo said the Novi City Council had no review of the S.W.O.C.C. budget except through the City Manager and the Assistant City Managerís representation who are not elected officials. She wanted accountability at the Novi City Council table for the budget because it is City money.
Mayor Clark thought everyone had to realize that in 1996 the Federal government decided to intrude into another aspect of our life at the local level and try to micro manage our existence and this is the price we pay. Prior to that we were much more masters of our own destiny. He did not like passing the cost along either but the concept of pass through costs should not be startling or unique. The manufacturer always passes the cost onto the customer and we are the customer. We have to bear in mind, regarding the budget, that there are two other communities involved and if they were not we probably would not be getting the deal that we have now. He was not happy with this but stressed how limited they were to control it. He felt the easiest solution if Time Warner did not get up to speed and provide modem access and upgrades within a few years technology would be so advanced it would be more cost
competitive for competition to come in. He was not happy with the situation but thought it was the best of a bad situation given there was no other competition for Time Warner. In terms of the communities money whether one or three communities these communities are not going to go into the TV broadcasting business because there was enough to do to take care of the problems in our own community. The S.W.O.C.C. budget had always been available and if there were questions we could raise those. He did not want to micro manage S.W.O.C.C.
Toni Nagy, 22647 Cranbrooke, represented Lake Wood, and stated they had had a lot of problems with Time Warner Cable over the years. She expressed that one problem with Time Warner was that they had totally defaced their buildings by putting the cable wire through their shutters and through their gables. They actually put rolled up wires in front of someoneís house, taped them to the sidewalk, draped it over the lawn and bushes and left it for two months. She had tried to contact Time Warner and finally got someone and within 45 minutes listed 18 buildings where there were problems with Time Warner. The burying of cable was improper and they said they sub-contracted it out. She was concerned there were no modem capabilities and thought there was something wrong when Commerce Township had modems and Novi did not. They were opposed to a 15-year contract and would make them feel more "cushy" than they already do. She asked if something could be put in the contract about proper burial of wire. She asked Council to make the contract as short as possible because they were not that good and they did not feel Time Warner was worth the money the residents were paying.
Mayor Clark asked Mr. Donohue if there was anything in the contract regarding installation?
Mr. Adler said the Cable Television Franchise Agreement, page 12 Item #5, indicated that "one educational access joint use channel for Farmington School District and Novi School District, one educational access joint use channel for Clarenceville, Walled Lake, Northville, South Lyon and Oakland Community College". He had never gotten an answer to his question about narrow casting but if it was going on it did not say it in the contract. The community access and the pass through was an issue; the equipment is old, antiquated and would fail and get worse. They have five staff members at Time Warner and he did not know where they were going to go. The studio would probably go and we would have to make provisions for that and that would be five more people the community would not have access to. It would be upwards of $300,000 to build a new studio and he would like to see some planning issues about this. Time Warner could raise their fees $1.00 per year and that was not addressed in the new contract. Council should be aware that in 2006 the F.C.C. had mandated that all cable M.S.O.ís and broadcasters had to go digital and no one knew where that would go and it was not addressed either.
Mr. Donohue noted Section 7 of the Franchising Regulation Ordinance addressed cable system construction. Among the provisions was the requirement that underground installations be in conformance with all applicable codes. Either the Electrical Codes the city had adopted or the F.C.C. provisions governed this and he would have which specific code addressed buried cable by the next meeting. On page 20, subsection F, there was a provision that if at any time it was determined by S.W.O.C.C. or the City
that there was a part of the cable system endangering public safety, including cables across walkways, driveways or low cables, etc. we had the authority to require them to correct the conditions within 24 hours. He related that to the liquidated damages provisions.
Mayor Clark asked if that would apply in a case where cable was
inappropriately placed or laid and a complaint was filed, they would get
those time perimeters to correct it or those damage provisions would kick
Mr. Donohue said that was correct and what they were intended to address.
Mayor Clark asked about narrow casting. Mr. Donohue in the past the school districts either shared the channels or their access was limited. Under this arrangement the Novi School District would be able to broadcast to all of the residents of the Novi School District. Their programs would not be seen in the Farmington School District but, using the same channel, the Farmington School District would be broadcasting to residents within their district. The joint use channel to be done with the community college, Clarenceville and Walled Lake would be a shared use channel.
Ms. Collens said there would be a channel that would be narrow casted. If they took Farmington, Farmington Hills and Novi and split them into three different areas, for instance in Novi, those who live in the North end would get Walled Lake Schools, those on the south end would get Northville Schools and channel 10 would get Novi Schools. This way all the school systems would be served and could be seen by the residents who attend those schools.
The meeting was adjourned at 9:19 PM.
Richard J. Clark, Mayor Maryanne Cornelius, City Clerk
Transcribed by: _________________________
Charlene Mc Lean
Date approved: December 4, 2000