Boro, cable co. reach consensus

BY STACI WILSON

Time Warner Cable’s David Whalen appeared at the Montrose Borough meeting Monday, Aug. 5, to discuss the proposed franchise agreement with the cable company. The current franchise agreement lapsed Aug. 1.

Boro council had balked at the proposed 15-year franchise agreement. The prior agreement was in place for 10 years, a term Whalen said the company would be agreeable with as a change.

Another change to the proposed franchise agreement will be in the number of homes per mile for the cable service to be available. In more densely populated areas, the standard is 35 homes per linear mile, in Montrose the contract will be for 20 homes per linear mile.

Council members also took the opportunity to address other concerns with Whalen.

Councilman Craig Reimel said some obsolete satellite equipment belonging to Time Warner was still located at the fairgrounds.

Whalen said the company would clear out the old equipment from the site.
Councilwoman Julanne Skinner asked about price of cable bills looking down the road.

Whalen said the average cable television bill runs about $79 per month. He said he could give council a history of rates but “there are too many variables looking forward.”

Variables include network contracts and federal legislation that could affect cable companies.

Whalen also said that Time Warner would eventually convert to an all-digital format which would give the company the ability to transmit more channels to subscribers on its systems.

Whalen also discuss potential problems with “ala carte” programming being discussed at the federal level. Problems include the potential for increased cost of channels to the subscribers and networks that wouldn’t be able to survive the loss of package viewers.

The municipal parking lots – often referred to as the “North” and “South” lots – will be getting new names. Judy Kelly approached council with recommendations from the Montrose Area Chamber of Commerce and the Montrose Restoration Committee – as well as input from Susquehanna County Historical Society Director Betty Smith on more appealing names. The North lot will be called “The Livery Lot” and the South lot will be named “The Tannery Lot.” Both Chamber and MRC members preferred those names, Kelly told council.
Council approved the proposed parking lot name changes.

A proposed six-unit apartment building project will receive more attention from council next Monday night. Property owner Joe Andre, along with designer John Puzo and Contractor Todd Smith attended the meeting in order to hear any concerns council might have about the project.

Joe Andre said, “These are not small. They are sizable apartments, bigger than some of our homes.”

Proposed apartments in the project are about 1,600-1,800 sq. ft.

Council opted to recess the Monday meeting to reconvene, Aug. 12, at 7 p.m. with the zoning officer present in order to have questions about the project answered.

There were few updates on the proposed Community Center.

It was reported that property owner Alice Davis was receptive to partnering with the borough for the clean-up of the building and to the draining of the pool.

Mold spores were discovered in the proposed center, located at the corner of Mill and High streets, which require remediation.

Keystone, a Binghamton-area based company, provided recommendations for remediation.

Council was presented, for the first time, with the company’s findings in the building.

Reimel said he believed the levels would go down when the pool was drained and carpeting and duct work was removed.

Reimel said the borough should give the recommendations to Serve-Pro and a local contractor with a mold certification for a quote on the work.

Council also discussed moving forward with draining the pool and wanted the director of the street department to contact the Montrose Municipal Authority to determine where the water should be drained.

Councilman Tony Pickett said he was against having borough employees work on any of the remediation, including draining the pool.

He said he believed they would not just go in and set up the drain but would return and spend the day there.

Pickett was told there was nothing harmful in the building.

“Do you know that/” he asked. “I’m not an expert in it.”

Following an executive session, council returned to the meeting and hired two part-time police officers. Each will work up to 24 hours per week.
There is a 90-day probationary period for the newly hired officers.