Source: Sherman Publications

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Village wants to give schools, library shared vote on cable board

February 22, 2012

The debate over how the Oxford Area Cable Communications Commission should look continued last week as the Oxford Village Council made its own recommendation.

Council voted unanimously to recommend the commission become a five-member board with one vote each for Oxford Township, Oxford Village, Addison Township and Leonard Village, plus a voting seat representing both Oxford Community Schools and the Oxford Public Library.

Referring to the schools and library, Councilman Kevin Stephison said, "They are the cog that runs this machine. That's where we're going to find the people who are going to come up in the process (and) want to continue this."

The cable commission oversees and operates Oxford Community Television (OCTV), the local public access station.

The school district and library used to have a total of three votes on the cable commission. In December 2011, both entites withdrew from the board and the cable commission subsequently amended its bylaws to eliminate their seats.

Oxford Schools withdrew because the district didn't feel it should have any votes given it contributes no funding to the cable commission or OCTV.

The library, which also contributed no funding, pulled out because it believed "political agendas" were superceding the "common good" and OCTV was being subjected to an "unwelcomed bureaucracy" and "strong-arm political tactics."

Some council members didn't like the idea of the school district and library no longer serving on the commission and as a result, expressed their desire to see their representation reinstituted.

"I don't like cutting the schools and the library out," said Councilwoman Maureen Helmuth. "I think their input on every topic is important. I think the schools are extremely important with the cable commission not that the library's less important."

"I'd like to see them involved," said village President Tom Benner. "I think they're a good addition to the cable commission."

"It only makes sense to have them sit down and talk (to) see if they can come to an agreement and bring them back on board, so it's truly a representative board," Stephison said.

Council did not favor the current proposal that the cable commission be comprised of two representatives for Oxford Township and one each from Oxford Village, Addison and Leonard.

This proposed structure has already been voted on and okayed by the Oxford and Addison township boards, plus the Leonard Village Council.

"I still have a little trouble with (Oxford Township) having two (votes) versus the one (vote) of everybody else," Stephison said.