Long delayed cable hearing set for tonight


AMENIA - The Town Board will hold a public hearing on a new franchise agreement with Cablevision tonight at 6:30 p.m. at Town Hall.

The hearing was originally scheduled for Dec. 13, 2007, but was postponed due to Cablevision representatives not being able to attend the meeting.

The agreement will include $8,000 for new video equipment for the town, a cable fiber-optic connection for the town and video equipment for Webutuck High School.

At a Town Board meeting in November, former town Supervisor Janet Reagon said the agreement is a positive development in the town.

"The school district is interested in starting a broadcasting class, so they will be able to make use of [the equipment]," she said. "Of course, the district might be able to broadcast shows on Channel 22 [the town's public access station] which might include basketball games and other activities."

In a previous interview, Webutuck Superintendent Richard Johns said all plans for a video program at Webutuck are hypothetical.

"My biggest desire would be to set up a student broadcast studio and do this within the context of a class offering," Johns said. "But we really have not gotten to the point where we have anything solid on the table yet."

In a previous interview, Patrick MacElroy, director of media relations for Cablevision, said that if the town passes the franchise agreement, a fiber-optic return line for the school district will be constructed at no cost to the town.

"This is the most advanced and reliable technology," MacElroy said "One of the things about this agreement is that it will continue to support programming in Amenia."

The proposed franchise agreement is available for viewing online at the town's Web site ameniany.gov.

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