The Mayors of two villages see things very differently when it comes to dividing up cable TV franchise fees.
The 40 year-old agreement between the Village and Town of Mamaroneck and the Village of Larchmont is under attack with Larchmont’s decision to withdraw unless unspecified changes are made.
We sent a query to both Village Mayors about the background of the dispute and thought we’d share the feedback with you.
From Larchmont Mayor Lorraine Walsh:
Here’s how it works. Each community receives quarterly franchise fee reports from the two cable companies breaking out what is due that community for the quarter. The check is transmitted directly to the Town treasurer who serves as the BOC (CATV Board of Control) treasurer.
(Below) is a redacted version of Larchmont’s Verizon 2nd quarter report for your edification. We cannot share the full report due to our confidentiality obligations with Verizon, but you can see the items that make up the report. This is franchise fees only. It is my understanding that PEG (Public, Educational and Government Access) funds are reported and transmitted annually. Note that 75% of the franchise fees come from a line item billed directly to the customer and passed through to the municipalities. In addition, the PEG funds are also passed from customer directly to the municipalities in the same manner.
Based on the terms of the CATV Agreement, Larchmont is allocated 17% of the total franchise fees and PEG fees and the number reflected on the attached represents 17% of the total received by all 3 municipalities this quarter.
Mayor Walsh seems focused on the funds that are NOT required to be spent on community TV. The Larchmont Board has asked for an increase in funds given directly to the Village.
Mamaroneck Mayor Tom Murphy answered our inquiry as follows:
There is no breakdown for individual communities. The Town of Mamaroneck holds the funds which are then distributed via the Board of Control. LMC was the only recipient of the funds until 2010 when all three communities started taking a slice of the now slowly diminishing pie.
The disbursement of funds is based on population, with Larchmont making up 17% of the area. There is no breakdown of how many cable viewers there are in each of the villages and the unincorporated parts of the Town. Larchmont’s notice of withdrawal is really a one-year warning to the BOC to change its procedures or go on without the junior partner.
The BOC is next scheduled to meet on December 7th.