By Dennis Brown
City Council met in a delayed regular session last Thursday and heard an
auditor’s report as well as the first reading of an ordinance outlining
requirements for accepting new roads into the city road system.
Dearfield, a CPA with Kelley, Galloway and Company in Ashland, presented the
auditor’s report for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2008.
said that in her opinion it was a “clean audit”. She reviewed the report
along with financial statements compiled by the accounting firm. The audit also
included information for the city owned utility system although the utility
company has its own separate audit performed.
statement of net assets for the city, not including the utility company, shows
total net assets at the end of the last fiscal year at $2,019,842 and fund
balances of $786,932. The fund balance includes certificates of deposit of
accepted the report as presented.
regular council meeting had been postponed from Monday to Thursday because Mayor
Angie Patton was attending meetings in Washington, D.C. Patton said while in the
nation’s capital, she learned that the city will receive some benefit from the
recently announced stimulus package. Most of that assistance will go to the
utility system for storm drainage and wastewater projects.
Attorney John Holder summarized the first reading of an ordinance which will set
the standard for roads offered for acceptance into the city’s road system.
Holder said the ordinance is similar to a county ordinance with the same
purpose. The city presently has no law on record addressing that matter. A
second reading is planned for the April council meeting.
approved the appointment of city worker Aaron Gilbert to serve as a FEMA agent
for the city. City Clerk Jeana Billman has been serving in that capacity and
will continue to assist in completing some of the requirements for the job.
Patton said Gilbert has been the person making site visits with FEMA
representatives and is actively involved in making repairs associated with
damage from storms.
once again addressed the loss of Lexington television channels from the local
cable system. A Time Warner representative had sent a letter to city and county
officials to provide information concerning the cable company’s decision to
eliminate those channels in the cable lineup.
Carfagna stated in the letter that the company’s primary focus is to improve
their lineups across all the services areas by eliminating duplicate programming
to bring greater variety to their customers.
wrote that the company believes that ultimately their product offering is
stronger when the channel lineup offers a variety of programming options. He
noted that Time Warner followed FCC guidelines on designated market areas that
identify which broadcast stations are considered “local” for the areas they
member Matt Jarrells noted that the cable company
not legally bound to follow those designation areas and may carry any
channels they wish.
wrote in the letter that the vast majority of WKYT and WOWK programming is
identical although some customers may prefer the WKYT newscasts or have an
interest in that station’s coverage of the UK Wildcats.
wrote that options for customers include installing an outdoor VHF antenna
at their home or accessing the station’s website via the Internet.
hope that this information helps to further clarify our decision,” he
wrote. “We firmly believe that in the long run, avoiding duplications and
providing diverse programming options will give our customers the best
said it was her personal opinion that the cable company may eventually
regret their decision by the loss of customers who will turn to other
sources to receive television programming.
said in researching the franchise agreement the cable company has with the
city, they can’t legally be forced to carry particular channels.
President and General Manager Wayne Martin attended the February council
meeting and said the station would grant consent to Time Warner to carry the
station’s signal on its local system at no cost and said that the station
can get signal and good picture to the head end of the Vanceburg cable TV
said that WKYT is the second most viewed television station in this area. He
said WSAZ-TV out of Huntington is first on the list and added that there
isn’t a close third. “We are offering for them to retransmit our signal
at no charge to them,” Martin said at the meeting.
said Time Warner representatives had previously attended council meetings
and had assured council members that they would press forward with planned
system improvements and work with council to provide service to their
customers in the Vanceburg area.
January 14 Time Warner eliminated WKYT-TV and WTVQ-TV from the lineup and
added WCHS-TV, a Charleston, West Virginia, station. Steven Cuckler, who was
the government affairs director with Time Warner at the time, had told
members of Lewis County Fiscal Court in a letter that viewers would continue
to be able to receive network programming from CBS and ABC through the
Charleston and Huntington, West Virginia, channels carried by the cable
franchise agreement the city has with Time Warner which will not be up for
renewal until 2015. It was again mentioned during the meeting that while
Time Warner is maintaining a local office, it does not have a local
telephone number for customers to contact and calls are answered elsewhere.
discussed utilizing a local access channel provided by the cable company in
supplementing programming to allow for some information of local interest to
be provided to cable customers.
approved the minutes of the previous meeting before adjourning.