CABLE ACCESS ADVISORY COMMISSION

Meeting Minutes

September 12, 2007

 

PRESENT: Ernest Bedford; Don Deibert; Bob Granstra; Linda Malekadeli;

Norm Neher

           

ABSENT:  Jason Brown; Roy Green

 

ALSO PRESENT:  Melissa Barnard – Library; Judy MacDonald – Secretary

               Ron Beacom-MCTV Director

 

 

I.       CALL To Order

By Malekadeli at 7pm

 

 

II.     ELECTION

 

1.    Chair

 

Motion and support for the nomination of Linda Malekadeli as chair.  Unanimously approved.  Linda Malekadeli is elected chair for 2007/2008.

 

2.    Vice-Chair

 

Motion and support for the nomination of Norm Neher as vice-chair.  Unanimously approved.  Norm Neher is elected vice-chair for 2007/2008.

 

 

III.    APPROVAL - of March 5, 2007 Minutes

Minutes approved as submitted. 

 

 

IV.     PUBLIC Comments

 

None.

 

 

V.       OLD Business

 

1.  Cable Communications Fund

 

Beacom reviews the 2006/2007 year end numbers for the Cable Communications Fund.  Revenue side review shows:

§  Franchise fees - $470,000 (budgeted); $486,000 (actual)

§  Taping fees – actual was almost double what was budgeted

§  Workshops – some increase over what was budgeted

§  User fees – generated almost $5,000 (have more than 200 users to date)

§  Total revenue gain - $21,570

Expense side review shows:

§  Personnel Services – already modified to reflect change in Office Assistant position

§  Office supplies & Equipment and Maintenance – spent less than anticipated

§  Reserve for contingencies – revised from $12,000 to $8,500

§  Total expense reduction - $12,000

Revenue & Expense review shows:

§  An overall increase of about $33,000

     

Items that could impact the budget include how the new state video franchising law and anything on the federal front will affect revenues, and whether Charter will charge for in-kind services.  There are efforts being made in response to this new law such as:

a)  The state chapter of the Alliance for Community Media filed a complaint that was initially discarded and they are waiting to see if other municipalities want to get involved.

b)  There is an idea to amend the law to allow for an additional 2% collection in franchise fees to cover any charge for in-kind services.

c)  Municipalities are looking at local ordinances that affect the right-of-way.  The boxes that AT&T is putting on people’s outlawns and property are fairly large (the size of a small refrigerator).

 

Deibert first commented on the favorable support that MCTV has from the community noting that the volunteer hours are probably close to or more than the hours spent by the paid staff - a positive mix in terms of volunteer activity.  Deibert then explains that the new law passed last fall with the idea that there would be a reduction in the price of cable due to competition.  AT&T does not plan to compete on price, but intends to offer bundled services, (internet, phone, and cable), with packages probably starting around $100.  Also, AT&T will place all access channels on the same bandwidth and there will be a menu that you have to go through to select the access channel you want to watch.  This means that the quality of signal on all access channels will be significantly less than other channels since they share bandwidth.  Our interest as a commission and from the point of view of the city is to make sure there is competition and that it is fair.  The city has additional interest in making sure the right-of-way is handled in a proper manner.

 

Malekadeli also commented on the favorable support that MCTV has and applauded the staff savings efforts.

 

 

VI.     NEW Business

 

1.  Annual Report, 2006-07

 

Beacom presents the draft (agenda packet).  Commission members agree the report reflects what happened with no changes necessary.  Motion moved and seconded to accept report as submitted.  Proposed annual report accepted as presented.

 

2.  CAAC Goals, 2007-08

 

Beacom presents the proposed goals for 2007-08 (agenda packet).  Neher questions the measurability of the goals.  Discussion followed with an agreement to amend the goals as follows:

 

1.    Set goals for Midland Community Television for City of Midland’s 2008-09 fiscal year.

2.    Quarterly receive a report on the status of the Cable Communications Fund.

3.    Quarterly receive a report on the activities of the Friends of MCTV.

4.    Quarterly receive a report on Michigan’s new video franchising law.

5.    Inform access users and the public about the challenges and opportunities facing MCTV.

6.    Inform the public about the benefits of MCTV.

7.    Participate in MCTV’s “Honors Night 2007”.

 

Granstra moves to accept goals as amended.  Deibert seconds it.  Motion passes as amended.  Recommendations were made to appoint a commissioner to work with the staff to track the quarterly updates, (Malekadeli volunteers to do so), and to conduct a survey of the users to see if there other uses that they see for MCTV.

 

 

3.  CAAC Goals, 2008-09

 

Beacom gives presentation regarding setting of goals for boards and commissions.  The City’s 2008/09 budget has been reformatted and organized by city services.  The City Council’s goals were presented with the explanation that the role of boards and commissions in this process is to provide input for community goals which are to be communicated to City Council prior to the January ’08 goal setting where they will be considered in establishing fiscal priorities.

 

In light of City Council’s goals, a lengthy discussion followed to develop the goals for 2008-09.  Points made and questions asked included:

§  Should the cable communications fund be funded solely by the revenues gained from franchise fees?

§  Services should be maintained, but we should look for more efficiencies.

§  A viable community access TV is an element in a high-class community (a given), with the question being at what level is it given.

§  We currently have great utilization of the use of our volunteers.

§  We need a way to measure to make sure the community is actually getting what they want.

§  We need to show that we are good stewards of what we have and are using it responsibly.

§  Set aside a reserve fund or set a goal to set aside a percentage so that we can sustain the services we provide to the city.

 

Upon completion of the discussion, the Goals for 2008-09 were set as follows:

 

1.    Determine appropriate level of Access TV service(s).

2.    Study stewardship of past and current resources to determine appropriate allocation of future resources.

3.    Identify measures for achieving sustainability of services at the appropriate level.

 

Deibert motions to approve the above drafted goals.  Granstra supports.  Goals as drafted are approved unanimously.

 

4.  Friends of MCTV

 

Beacom presents an update on the Friends of MCTV.  Formed Friends in May 2006.    An operating fund under an umbrella of the Midland Area Community Foundation was signed in October 2006.  The first fundraiser was held early November 2006 at MCTV’s Honors Night.  This year’s Honors Night will be another fundraiser for the Friends.  They have already raised over $3,000 in sponsorships.  A silent auction is planned for the event which will take place on Thursday October 4th.  A raffle was looked into, but fell through because the Friends do not have non-profit status yet.  Deibert is working with a local attorney to start paperwork to become a 501C3.  Hope to have it complete by March or April of 2008.  The Friends have been producing a monthly show to give updates on their activities since November of 2007.

 

 

5.  Meeting Dates - 2008

 

Beacom presents proposed meeting dates for 2008,(agenda packet), as follows:

Wednesdays at 7:00pm

February 13

May 14

September 10

November 12

 

Meeting dates approved as submitted.

 

 

VII.    ANNOUNCEMENTS

 

1.  Central States Regional Conferences will be held in Ft. Wayne on November 8th-10th where they will present the annual Philo Farnsworth awards.

 

 

VIII.  ADJOURNMENT

The next regular meeting is November 14, 2007 at 7pm.

Bedford moved to adjourn meeting, Granstra supports.  Meeting adjourned at 8:50pm.