Cities, county approve transfer of cable franchise
The Tonganoxie City Council gave the green light Monday night to a transfer of the city's cable television franchise from Galaxy Cablevision to WorldNet LLC, a Lawrence firm.
In addition, council members supported a change to the way Southwestern Bell bills customers to recoup its franchise fee costs.
On a 5-0 vote, council members approved the cable television change, which already had been OK'd by city councils in Basehor and Linwood and the Leavenworth County Commission.
WorldNet is owned by brothers Dolph Simons III and Dan Simons, who are members of the family that own Sunflower Cablevision in Lawrence.
WorldNet is purchasing the cable television operations that serve about 1,400 customers in southern Leavenworth County.
Dan Simons told Tonganoxie council members Monday night that local customers should see an improvement in their signal. Billing, service and maintenance will be handled through Sunflower Cablevision through a contractual agreement with WorldNet.
"We've got a good, tight system over there, and we want to bring it here," Simons said.
"No doubt, as fuzzy as my channels are, we could use something new," said Mayor John Franiuk.
In six months to a year, Simons said, the local cable system will be tied into Sunflower Cablevision's system, which serves about 30,000 customers in Lawrence, Eudora and portions of rural Douglas County. That will mean additional channel offerings, high-speed Internet access capabilities, digital channels and telephony.
Also Monday night, council members approved a change in its franchise agreement with Southwestern Bell. According to Chris Eppley, city administrator, the telephone utility wants to change the way it charges customers for the city franchise. Under the new plan, customers will be charged an 81-cent flat fee, rather than the current 4 percent of their gross bills.
"Everybody will have the same per line fee, regardless of their service," Eppley told council members.
Council member David Hernandez questioned how the change would affect individuals' bills.
"Some people are going to go down, and some people are going to go up," he said.
Eppley replied: "It's a matter of dimes. It's going to be fairly innocuous to most people."
Eppley said he tried to secure an agreement with Southwestern Bell to include Tonganoxie in the Kansas City calling area, but was unsuccessful.
Also Monday, the council:
Adopted an ordinance altering site plan review standards.
Accepted the final plat of Twin Cedars subdivision.
Adopted an ordinance outlining changes to the light industrial zoning district that includes requirements for deeper setbacks and larger lots.
Accepted the final plat of Southpark Addition No. 2.