February 15, 2012 - A proposal to change the voting composition of the Oxford Area Cable Communications Commission was okayed last week by the Oxford Township Board.
Officials voted 6-1 to approve a recommendation that the cable commission consist of two representatives for Oxford Township and one each for Addison Township, Oxford Village and the Village of Leonard.
As part of that recommendation, each community is required to contribute a minimum of 25 percent of the franchise fees they receive from local cable providers such as Charter Communications and AT&T U-verse. These fees are derived from local subscribers.
The cable commission relies on these fees to fund and operate Oxford Community Television (OCTV), the local public access station.
Treasurer Joe Ferrari cast the lone dissenting vote because he believes all of the communities should be required to contribute 100 percent of their franchise fees, just as Oxford Township has a history of doing.
Addison Township officials have already approved this proposal.
At its Feb. 14 meeting, the Oxford Village Council recommended having a five-member cable commission consisting of one member from each municipality, plus a fifth member, who would dually represent the Oxford school district and Oxford Public Library.
The cable commission currently consists of two representatives each from Oxford Township and Oxford Village along with one representative each from Addison and Leonard. The school district and library, neither of which contributed any funds to OCTV, withdrew from the board.
Prior to Oxford Township's vote, Supervisor Bill Dunn wanted to clarify for the record that despite some comments from certain officials representing Oxford Village and the Oxford Public Library, the township has not been attempting to bully any of the other entities into going along with its ideas to change the cable commission's makeup.
"That couldn't be farther from the truth," he said. "I can assure the village residents, and everyone, that this board is not bullying anyone."
Dunn noted the township previously proposed changing the commission's makeup to include three representatives from Oxford Township, two from Addison Township and one each from the villages of Oxford and Leonard.
The reason the township suggested it have the most representation is because it contributes approximately 77 percent of OCTV's funding.
"We caught all hell for that," he said.
The supervisor noted the township was simply making a "recommendation to take back to the cable commission."
"There is nothing written in stone," he said. "I just wanted to make that clear that we were in no way trying to tell other communities what they were going to do."
With regard to the township board's September 2011 decision to withhold its 2012 funding until a new interlocal agreement and bylaws for the cable commission are approved, Dunn said that was "the only leverage we had to have the cable commission try to get their house in order."
CJ Carnacchio is editor for The Oxford Leader. He lives in the Village of Oxford with his wife Connie and daughter Larissa. When he's not busy working on the newspaper, he enjoys cigars/pipes, Martinis/Scotch, hunting and fishing.