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Batavia, Time Warner renew cable TV contract for 10 more years

BATAVIA – The city and Time Warner Cable Northeast have reached a tentative agreement to renew their cable television contract for another 10 years, maintaining the 5 percent franchise fee that will add about $165,000 to the city’s coffers in 2016-17.

City Manager Jason R. Molino on Monday said the contract is a “standard franchise draft agreement” that will not change even when Time Warner’s merger with Charter Communications goes through. It also is the same document that has been presented to Empire Access, a digital TV provider that seeks to expand into the Batavia area.

The city’s last contract with Time Warner expired in 2003 and, by law, it automatically renewed every six months.

Molino said the new agreement includes an itemized list of 25 revenue sources that will ensure the city receives the maximum amount of franchise fee revenue going forward. Franchise fee payments will be made to the city on a quarterly basis, instead of the current annual basis.

The renewal continues Time Warner’s support of a public, educational and governmental channel in the amount of $11,650, Molino said.

The accord sets the stage for a public hearing, which was scheduled by City Council for April 25, and adoption on May 9.

In other business, the Council was asked to consider a plan to auction a foreclosed home on Walnut Street and use the proceeds to fund the Vibrant Batavia community development network for the 2016-17 fiscal year, which begins on April 1.

The board previously committed $25,000 to the program for the coming year, about half of what has been budgeted annually to cover salary, programming and related expenses.

Vibrant Batavia heads into its fifth year seeking a new coordinator as a result of Leanna L. DiRisio’s resignation, effective Thursday.

Council President Eugene A. Jankowski Jr. said he hopes to hear from residents before next month’s auction in order for Council members to make an informed decision on Vibrant Batavia’s future.

On Monday, the Council did receive positive feedback from Donald Hirons and RaeAnn Engler on the program’s role in helping to form a neighborhood association on Summit Street.

“It has given us a sense of community that is missing in neighborhoods,” Hirons said, adding that police response has resulted in the “shutting down of several drug houses with arrests and convictions.”

In other developments, the Council:

• Heard a recommendation from interim Fire Chief Daniel G. Herberger to purchase an E-One 100-foot rear-mounted platform aerial ladder truck at a net cost of $910,000 to replace the department’s current 22-year-old aerial ladder truck.

Herberger said the new truck is a “demo” model built in January 2015 and has 14,000 miles on it – but only 30 hours of use. He said all of the warranties are still in place.

The truck would be purchased through an agreement with the Houston-Galveston Area Council Cooperative, a state-approved method of bidding that satisfies general municipal law. Molino reported that the money is available to purchase the vehicle through the city’s reserve fund.

• Issued a proclamation to Gary Raphael, who retired last month after 31½ years of service in the maintenance department – the last 20 as a heavy equipment operator.