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Highland nixes Community Media funding

Ashley Andyshak Hayes

(2/15/2012) Highland Township Board of Supervisors voted to deny funding to Community Media at their February 14 meeting.

Highland followed the lead of many other Adams County municipalities whose governing boards also have voted to deny funding to the non-profit television station in recent months.

Community Media, formerly Adams Community Television, is based in New Oxford and provides local news and feature programming, including coverage of local government meetings and community events, via Comcast cable and the Community Media website.

Community Media sent a letter to all Adams County municipalities last fall, asking for a donation equal to six percent of the cable franchise fee received by the municipality from Comcast.

This fee is paid to municipalities for the use of public right-of-ways and other public property used in delivering cable service. The six percent requested by Community Media varies by municipality, ranging from a few hundred dollars to several thousand.

Some boards said they could not justify the donation because it was either not in their budgets or not a priority.

Cumberland Township Manager Ben Thomas said at the municipality’s January meeting that, when he received the funding request, he had asked for a copy of Community Media's budget and the number of township residents who access the Community Media station.

Thomas said he found that the station serves 1,500 customers in his township, and that Community Media already receives $36,000 annually from Comcast.

Cumberland Supervisor Al Ferranto said the township does not have the money designated in its budget this year.

"With all the needs that Cumberland Township has...the money could be better spent in the township," Ferranto said.

Other municipalities, like Hamiltonban Township, voted to deny funding because they believe the responsibility to fund public access stations lies with Comcast, not local governments.

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