Schenectady County

Glenville officials seek new cable contract

Town officials are looking to resolve an impasse with Time Warner Cable and negotiate a new contract

Town officials are looking to resolve an impasse with Time Warner Cable and negotiate a new contract — setting aside for the moment their belief that the company overcharged Glenville residents on franchise fees.

At issue is the town claim that the company was passing on 5 percent of its franchise fee to customers instead of the 2 percent specified in the last contract. Town officials estimate that its customers were overcharged by roughly $1.3 million.

Glenville was set to approve a new 10-year contract in February 2011, but a resident raised the issue during a Town Board meeting and town officials postponed approving the deal until the issue was resolved.

About 7,500 cable customers are involved. While acknowledging at the time that it would be difficult for residents to be reimbursed because of the time that has passed, Supervisor Chris Koetzle said he hoped that the cable company could make good on the mistake by funding a public benefit project such as upgrades to Maalywck Park.

Time Warner officials at the time said that federal law permits passing through the fee.

Glenville referred the matter to the state Attorney General’s Office, which was investigating the issue. However, Koetzle said last week that the town wants to complete a new deal to start earning revenue from the agreement, especially with Time Warner’s new features such as the NFL Network and RedZone packages.

“I can’t wait anymore for the AG’s office,” he said.

Koetzle said the town contacted Time Warner to set up some meetings. Glenville will continue to pursue the overcharging issue, he said.

He added that he thought the Attorney General’s Office was serious about the matter and looking at other municipalities.

“I think the case is clear. I think the AG’s people have indicated the case is clear and is compelling and there’s no reason why it should be taking this long,” he said.

Time Warner Cable spokeswoman Jennifer Holick said the company looked forward to resuming discussions on the franchise renewal. “Our understanding is that the terms for renewal were previously agreed upon and we will be scheduling time within the next few weeks to discuss moving forward,” she said in an email. “As soon as the town of Glenville approves the renewal, Time Warner Cable will prepare an application to the New York State Public Service Commission for their approval.”

A representative from the Attorney General’s Office said she couldn’t comment regarding ongoing investigations.

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