WPCNR COMMON COUNCIL CHRONICLE EXAMINER. By John F. Bailey, July 31, 2013:
THE CITY OF WHITE PLAINS will audit cable franchise operators in the city, agreeing to authorize spending $35,000 to hire an independent audit firm with experience examingng cable operations, to audit Verizon Fios and Cablevision for the last five years of operations in the city. The new effort was presented to the Common Council at a Special Meeting Monday night.
John Callahan the city Corporation Counsel told WPCNR the effort is to confirm that Verizon and Cablevision are paying all the money they should on all the revenue streams they are supposed to be paying their franchise fees on.
Callahan said that if the audit found Verizon and Cablevision are earning less, the city might have to pay a refund. However that is not likely. towns in the county have found in recent audits that they were owed amounts of approximately a million dollars by cable companies after similar audits.
The cable business has been losing share to new media.
Verizon has taken away about 4,000 subscribers from Verizon, which has 15,800, down about 4 to 5,000 from five years ago when Verizon came in. And the cable business is losing share to the new media.
Callahan, asked about the Public Education Grants fees that cablevision has not paid in six years, told WPCNR the city is negotiating with Cablevision on this matter. Estimates are the lack of an agreement on the PEG fee has been costing the city cable television operation $220,000 a year for 9 years.
Establishing regular PEG payments again with Cablevision is critical for the city to pay for the $1.5 to $2 million move to the White Plains Public Library some day. They have no money to do that yet, unless other revenues are diverted to the reinvention of White Plains Public Access TV to the library.