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Hamiltonban nixes media funding

(10/4) The Hamiltonban Township Board of Supervisors voted unanimously at their October 4 meeting to deny a funding request submitted to the township by Community Media, a New Oxford Borough-based public service cable station.

Community Media (CM), classified as a public, education and government (PEG) media service, asked the township in a letter dated September 20 to consider sharing a portion of the municipality’s Comcast cable television franchise fees with CM.

According to township Board of Supervisors Chairman Robert L. Gordon, CM, formerly Adams Community Television (ACTV), CM noted in their request for money that "Comcast has stated that the franchise fees (derived from Comcast) are the typical source for PEG channel funding."

The board approved a draft letter submitted by Gordon at their meeting, to be sent to CM, stating, "The Hamiltonban Township Board of Supervisors disagrees with that (CM’s) statement."

The chairman said, "It is our understanding that the law requires Comcast to provide funding for PEG channels and it is not the township’s responsibility to give up a share of our franchise fee for that purpose."

"We understand that Comcast does not have to provide unlimited resources, but we believe they have the basic responsibility to fund PEG channels," he wrote in a draft letter to CM.

Supervisors Vice chairman Coleen N. Reamer noted, "They (CM) told us last year they would not request part of our franchise fees," to which Gordon added, "We told them right up front" they would not be given township franchise money.

The board previously voted to support the network on September 7, 2010, but also stated then it would not provide funding through the use of township franchise fees.

Gordon noted that the board also indicated when it had voted to support the network that "we reserve the right to withdraw our support."

However, the supervisors did not vote during the October meeting to withdraw support, only to deny giving the CM the requested funding.

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