CABLE ADVISORY COUNCIL
Minutes of Public Regular Meeting –
Tuesday, January 8, 2013
There was a regular meeting of the Cable Advisory Council called to order at 7:00 p.m., Tuesday, January 8, 2013 by Chairman Gregory Davis at the Charter Communications facility, Newtown, Connecticut.
ATTENDEES: Chairman Gregory Davis (Roxbury), Carmella Amodeo (Newtown), Douglas Branson (Kent), Carl Braun (Woodbury), Kevin Burns (Newtown), Donna Cassidy (Trumbull), Kathy Colavito (Brookfield), Ken Cornet (Washington), Ray Juskiewicz (New Fairfield), Jim Lang (Trumbull),George Linkletter (Sherman), Joe Mustich (Washington), Stephanie O’Rourke (Kent) and Ken Swain (Bridgewater)
From Charter: Tom Cohan (Director of Government Relations), Greg Van Antwerp (Public Access), and Heidi Vandenbrouch (Public Relations)
ROLL CALL: Chairman Gregory Davis called the meeting to order at 7:02pm. Council members introduced themselves. The board went over the packets with meeting documents.
PUBLIC INPUT: None
SERVICE PROVIDER REPORTS:
Tom Cohan: Director of Government Relations Tom Cohan spoke of the following:
Rate Adjustment Notices were just put in the January bills. Rates are effective February 8, 2013.
Analog Channel Migration to Digital is effective February 19, 2013. A list of channels that will be exclusively in digital was provided. It is expected that within 18 to 24 months all channels will be digital.
Charter is continuing to work with PURA to fine tune Emergency Response/Disaster Recovery Plans.
Mr. Cohan reached out to Kinson Perry from AT&T who is expected to provide a draft contract regarding Interconnection between Charter and AT&T.
Public Relations and Communications Manager Heidi Vandenbrouck spoke of the New Distribution Agreement between Charter Communications and Walt Disney Company.
Charter is getting closer to getting more “On Demand” channels.
Greg Van Antwerp:
Director of Public Access Greg Van Antwerp provided the council will a Public Access Report and a copy of the January/February Community Vision 21 Newsletter.
Coordinator Rory O’Neil left CTV-21 in November. His replacement Franny Hannigan just started. Mr. Hannigan is a graduate of Charter’s Internship and there is a description of his experience on the back page of the newsletter.
Another Internship will begin on February 7th. There is still room in this internship if anyone knows anyone interested. Applications can be obtained by calling (203) 304-4050.
Charter will be taping the “Community Conversation” meetings that will discuss what to be done with Sandy Hook Elementary School.
The Mobile Truck is currently be upgraded.
Mr. Van Antwerp asked the council members to look for two organizations in their community that would like to learn more about the benefits of Community Television. Please contact Greg Van Antwerp ASAP with any questions or information.
Jim Lang asked about the cost and use and refurbishing of the Mobile Truck Unit and whether or not this expenditure is justified. There was a brief discussion regarding this.
Treasurer Carl Braun read the following Treasurer’s report. The checking account balance is $4,333.07, the money market account balance is $6,159.38 and the 12 month CD has a balance of $13,509.38 for a total of assets at $23,352.34.
Jim Lang made a motion to accept the Treasurer’s report as presented. Donna Cassidy seconded the motion.
Vote: All in favor
(Treasurer’s report attached to the minutes of this meeting)
November meeting minutes- George Linkletter made a motion to approve the minutes of the November 13, 2012 council meeting as presented. Jim Lang seconded the motion.
Vote: All in favor
2013 Meeting Schedule- Donna Cassidy made a motion to accept the meeting schedule for 2013. Jim Lang seconded the motion. Vote: All in favor
The meeting dates for 2013 are: January 8th, March 12th, May 14th, July 9th, September 10th and November 12th at 7:00pm at Charter Communications.
December 11, 2012 Strategic Action Committee Meeting Minutes- Gregory Davis noted that the minutes of the Strategic Action Committee were included for the council members’ review. The next SAC meeting will be held on Tuesday, February 12th at 7:00pm at the Newtown Municipal Center.
PURA Response to three Advisory Council Actions
Chairman Gregory Davis spoke of PURA’s response to three motions sent to them from the Advisory Council. This was discussed at length at the December 11th Strategic Action Committee meeting. The three responses were:
PURA responded to the Advisory Council’s responsibilities and functions as described in the Prime Directive were accurate.
PURA responded that the Advisory Council may reimburse council members for mileage.
PURA noted that it can only intervene in the status of Interconnection if they are requested to by either Charter of AT&T.
AT&T Interconnection Status Report
Gregory Davis read an email from AT&T Area Manager Kinson Perry regarding the interconnection between Charter and AT&T. To that end, AT&T has attached a standard channel survey for each town and asked for a contact person per town. Gregory Davis asked council members to get together with elected officials and residents to get this survey done. Gregory Davis will coordinate the information for the survey and make sure it is completed. It was noted that Trumbull, New Fairfield and Monroe are already interconnected.
COUNCIL CHAIRMAN REPORT
Region 12 PEGPETIA Grant Application Status
Gregory Davis noted that he received an email from Pua Ford from the CT League of Women Voters & Special Council to PURA indicating that the PEGPETIA grant money was swept for $3.6 million in the deficit mitigation bill last month. There is no money is this fund because directors didn’t get the information done in time.
Jim Lang noted that Dr. Gary Cialfi from Trumbull put together the paperwork for the PEGPETIA Grant for Trumbull and has offered to help any school or town with paperwork if needed. If anyone is interested, they can contact Council member Donna Cassidy.
Ray Juskiewicz from New Fairfield noted that the New Fairfield School District applied in October 2012 for a PEGPETIA Grant and received a letter on January 3, 2013 that they have been awarded $25,768.00.
Community & Education/Local Government Access Television Interconnection status
Gregory Davis spoke of the Community & Education/Local Government Interconnection and noted that the designated community access provider television channels are not available on AT&T U-Verse and noted that six years after the law was passed, 66% of the Cable Franchise Areas remain unconnected. Mr. Davis reemphasized this and noted that importance of interconnection.
Cable Channel Layout Advisory- High Definition TV upgrade
Gregory Davis spoke of a television in his home and difficulty finding HD channels on many different devises and spoke of a chart that he comprised organizing channel numbers.
Donna Cassidy made a motion to move the following draft motion that the cable advisory council recommends that Charter make serious effort to maintain the signal order of the analog channels across and into the full digital TV services. Charter should publish a current detailed channel map with cable channel number assignments sorted by content. Ken Cornet seconded the motion. Vote: All in favor except Jim Lang who abstained
It was noted that Charter will take this under advisement.
Advisory Council Annual Report to PURA
Gregory Davis went over an Annual Report sent to PURA that will be submitted for Docket #13-01-06. This includes a list of Advisory Council members, dates of meetings and a summary of Advisory Council activities and twelve major accomplishments by the council from January 2012 to December 2012.
Carmella Amodeo noted that the date on the Accounting of Financial Activities within the Annual Report should read 2012 instead of 2011. Chairman Davis noted that he will correct this before sending the report.
Donna Cassidy made a motion to allow the Annual Report to be submitted as amended. Ken Cornet seconded the motion. Vote: All in favor
Travel Expense Policy Reimbursement
Gregory Davis noted that the council voted to September to request a response from PURA regarding the appropriateness of reimbursing members for mileage to and from meetings. PURA responded that it was appropriate to reimburse mileage for council members.
Gregory Davis went over a draft motion to adopt a reimbursement policy. There was a discussion of where the starting point for reimbursement should be. Chairman Davis suggested that mileage should be calculated from the post office from the town where the member lives. Jim Lang suggested that mileage be calculated based on the member’s home since some towns have a central post office that may or may not be close to their home. It was decided to have the member’s home as the starting point.
There was a discussion of the tax implications for members being reimbursed as well as the council’s ability to sustain this fund. It was noted that the budget from Charter to the Advisory Council is $2,000.00/year. It was noted that this amount has not been raised since 1975.
Joe Mustich made a motion to accept the draft motion to reimburse members according to the Travel Expense Policy at a rate of 55 cents a mile. Donna Cassidy seconded the motion.
George Linkletter made a motion to amend the previous motion to have the Travel Expense Policy sunset after two years (January 2015) and have it retroactive to January 2013. Ken Cornet seconded the motion. Vote to amend motion: All in favor- except Carmella Amodeo and Donna Cassidy opposed)
Vote on original motion as amended: All in favor except- Carmella Amodeo, Donna Cassidy and Jim Lang
Chairman Davis will write a letter to PURA informing them of the council’s new travel expense policy.
Ray Juskiewicz asked what amount Charter spends on Public Access, Educational Access and Government Access. It was noted that this is all Community Access and is not broken up.
Carmella Amodeo praised Charter for all their hard work and speed with getting up a network at Chalk Hill School that will house Sandy Hook students in the wake of the tragedy at Sandy Hook.
Chairman Gregory Davis will send a letter to Charter expressing the Advisory Council’s appreciation for their wonderful response in the wake of the Newtown tragedy.
It was noted that former Advisory Council member John Bell passed away.
Ray Juskiewicz made a motion to adjourn the meeting at 8:53pm. Ken Cornet seconded the motion. Vote: All in favor
Cable Advisory Council Regular Meeting Minutes, Tuesday, January 8, 2013