By Monica Sanchez
On Nov. 21, the Arcadia City Council held a public hearing to introduce an ordinance that would require a collection of fees from State video franchise holders that adheres to the Digital Infrastructure and Video Competition Act (DIVCA).
City Manager Dominic Lazzaretto said that “statewide video agreements are somewhat new to the city…This ordinance will update things to ensure that as state franchises get renewed that our local fees continue to be paid, and the city continues to benefit from the existence of those franchises.”
According to the City Council Agenda, the fiscal impact of the ordinance is that “The City of Arcadia currently receives approximately $100,000 per year in PEG fees from State video franchise holders. If the Ordinance is not adopted, State video franchise holders may stop paying PEG fees to the City as their State franchises expire and are renewed, based on a claim that reauthorization is required.”
Mike Breckner, Assistant to the City Manager explained to the city council that “the statue is ambiguous and unclear if it would require the reauthorization of the peg fee established by the City of Arcadia,” but he advised that “it is in the best interest of the city to reauthorize [the ordinance] to ensure that local franchise owners continue paying peg fees.”
There has been considerable confusion amongst the public as to what uses the State video franchise ordinance funds are allocated for. Mayor Peter Amundson wanted to address such confusion in the public hearing, since he had been questioned previously about what exactly the collected funds would be used for. While he noted that public knowledge of the use of these fees is “highly restricted,” the mayor confirmed with Breckner that “the proceeds from this went to our recent upgrades here to the video production” as he gestured to the council room.
City Manager Lazzaretto added that the “ongoing operation of the cable channel is used for those funds. Any upgrades to those equipments are used for that. It can only be used for cable related items.”
Council Member Roger Chandler ended the review of the ordinance with: “I’ll move to introduce this. I don’t think we have much choice. It’s sent down to us by the State.”
The ordinance was unanimously moved to be introduced, minus the vote of Council Member April Verlato, who was not present at the public hearing.
If you’d like more information on this ordinance, please contact the City Manager’s office at (626) 574-5401.