Mamaroneck Mayor Tom Murphy essentially told the neighboring Village of Larchmont to hit the bricks when it comes to bargaining with area cable providers over franchise fees.
“It doesn’t behoove me to negotiate with Larchmont if they’re not going to be part of the grander scheme,” he said Wednesday evening.
He was referring to the smaller village’s insistence on keeping all of its collected franchise fees for itself rather than participating in the agreement that has directly funded local community broadcasting in our area since the early 80’s.
Larchmont last month abruptly announced its intention to withdraw from the arrangement claiming the move was intended to increase transparency in the use of the funds. But Murphy says Larchmont has been intentionally vague about its deliberations on the Cable agreement which took place during trustee work sessions most residents were unaware of. “I’ve heard the word ‘opaque’ from Larchmont,” he said” but it seems none of your decisions happen in the open.”
Murphy, representing the Village of Mamaroneck, was chairing the Tri-Municipal Cable TV Board of Control along with Town of Mamaroneck Trustee Abby Katz and Larchmont Village Trustee Sarah Bauer. Bauer responded that the un-televised work sessions “are open to the public. Anybody can participate,” she said. Murphy scoffed noting the meetings take place in a small conference room at Village Hall without significant public participation.
At a population of 22,000, the Village of Mamaroneck is the senior partner in the tri-municipal arrangement. The unincorporated Town of Mamaroneck is considerably smaller at 11,000 residents and Larchmont is the smallest member with 6,000 residents total.
In freezing Larchmont out of future negotiations, Murphy told Bauer, “I think you’re going to use our populations to better your deal. I’m not one to give away the gravy.”
Another Board of Control meeting is schedule for March but Town of Mamaroneck Trustee Abby Katz wondered aloud if “we still exist.”