City Council approves new agreement with Comcast

Salisbury’s City Council has approved the city’s renewed agreement with Comcast cable company.

The new 10-year pact authorizes the city to grant a renewed franchise to maintain cable systems in the city and authorizes renewal of the city agreement, City Administrator Tom Stevenson told the City Council.

The previous agreement was from January 1998 to January 2015, he said.

This agreement includes requirements for construction, operations and maintenance, franchise fees, regulations by the city, such as the right to inspect documents, and requires various reports, Stevenson said.

It also sets customer standards, he said.

The franchise fee is 5 percent of all gross revenues. Section 8.4 of the ordinance provides capital grant money for PAC 14, which will get 80 cents per subscriber per month, for a total of $2 million in capital improvement funding.

Stevenson thanked the president of CBG Communications  and negotiating lawyer, Attorney Dan Cohen.

Councilwoman Laura Mitchell said she remembered discussing the issue early in her tenure.

“We’re been talking about his for quite a while, getting this on the radar, getting negotiations started. I too, am very happy to see this come to fruition. I think we have improved, from the city’s standpoint, the agreement we had previously. Did we get everything we wanted? No, but that’s the nature of negotiation,” she said.

Stevenson joked that he tried to get  limousine service, but was unsuccessful.

Mitchell said she wanted to be sure viewers can find PAC14, and was told they will, even if they tune in to Channel 14.

The county is getting close to making a similar agreement, she said. “Hopefully, that will be finalized and PAC 14 will be able to get on with agreements they need, like being able to stream these meetings live,” she said about city council assemblies.

Councilwoman Shanie Shields said city officials “did a good job working with consultants instead of having a staff person who might not know the ins and outs of doing franchise agreements.”

Councilman Tim Spies said without the agreement, it could have been difficult for the city to maintain services PAC 14 provides.

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