Declaring Time Warner Communication in default of its franchise agreement because of safety violations, the Alden Village Board took steps Monday night for strict enforcement of its new cable TV ordinance, adopted in April.
After receiving legal notice, Time Warner has 20 days to correct the safety violations. The company also must re-establish a full service office in the village within 60 days, said Village Attorney Chris Trapp. He declined to specify what remedies the village would seek if Time Warner does not meet the compliance deadline.
"There are a variety of avenues the board can travel," said Trapp. "What is really hoped is that the safety issues will be addressed -- that's the primary concern."
One possible action could be imposing fines for violations outlined in the village cable TV law, ranging from $100 to $1,000 per infraction.
A compliance inspection, conducted in April by cable TV consultant Lawrence Monroe, found "a fair number" of safety violations involving wiring problems at the engineering head-end, pole and house cable line drops as well as grounding problems. According to officials, Time Warner was notified of the inspection beforehand, and although the company chose not to, it was given the opportunity to ride along.
Representatives of the cable company were not present at Monday's meeting.
Among other non-compliance areas, mainly concerning revenue and tracking reports, the most troublesome for customers is the removal of the cable office from the village more than a year ago, Trapp said.
"A lot of people don't want to drive all the way to Batavia or Buffalo just to drop off the cable box," he said.
Officials added that the board and residents were never informed that the office, formerly on Broadway in the village, was being closed. The original franchise agreement signed in 1984 required a suitably staffed office for handling questions, complaints, and the pickup and delivery of cable equipment such as converter boxes.
The village's contract with Time Warner is up for renewal in 1999. However, officials stressed that this is not a renewal issue, but a compliance matter aimed at fixing safety as well as quality problems.
In other business the board:
Voted to raise veterans exemptions as follows: $9,000 for war veterans, $15,000 for combat veterans and a maximum of $30,000 for disabled veterans. The increase offsets the 30 percent negative impact resulting from the new 69.58 percent equalization rate for the village.
Passed a local law permitting veterinary offices that serve domesticated animals within the village, limiting boarding to two weeks and prohibiting exterior facilities.
Reviewed a proposed agreement with Adopt-a-Pet for transfer of unclaimed animals to the placement agency after the five-day holding period expires at the village dog pound.