SPRING 2009 A publication of the Minnesota Association of Community Telecommunications Administrators PRESIdENT’S REPoRT By Mark Moore, Cable Coordinator, Apple Valley, SPRING Farmington, and Rosemount Cable Commission 2009 is already proving to be one of the most challenging In This Issue ... years in a long time for each of us and our respective organizations. The current economic realities facing our members will have a ripple effect on MACTA, and Above Board 4 its parent organization NATOA is already grappling with Board of Directors 10 similar circumstances. MACTA faces a host of challenges ahead, and we are Franchise Fees – What Can moving quickly to address and resolve them. The fundamental goal that the Board Cities Legally Collect 6 of Directors has set is to improve and streamline what we do, how we do it, and Legislative Committee Report 2 how we pay for it. The components of that goal are all interrelated and will need to be approached holistically, but they are not insurmountable. Legislative Report 2 NATOA Update 7 We felt that the first step was to have clarity of purpose and vision, and the best nuCAT – New Ulm Community way to accomplish that was to refocus and refine the Mission Statement. The Access Television 5 updated Mission Statement now says: P.E.G. Committee Initiated 8 “MACTA supports, promotes, and protects local interest in community President's Report 1 access television (PEG), cable franchising, public right-of-way and cable/ Sound Bytes 9 telecommunications public policy." A direct and clear Mission Statement should define the "what we do" part of the MACTA Office goal for the Board, and crystallize the tasks and direction for the future. 1000 Westgate Dr. Ste 252 St. Paul, MN 55114 We also began creating a Member Satisfaction Survey that is scheduled for completion and approval at the March board meeting. It will help us understand 651-290-6282 Phone what the membership is thinking concerning what MACTA is, and isn’t, doing well, 651-290-2266 Fax what it should and shouldn’t be doing, provide additional suggestions and ideas, firstname.lastname@example.org E-mail and help us with the “how we do it” component. The survey should be offered in www.mactamn.org Website late March or early April. In addition, we are already striving to provide improved communications, services, and value for the members. We are also working to get more usable information on our website (especially in the Members Only section), and have begun distributing the monthly NATOA Chapter President’s Save the Date! Report to the membership to keep you better informed on a regular basis about what MACTA is doing. Additionally, in the newsletter there is a new section called 2009 Annual Conference “Above Board” summarizing the activities of the Board of Directors during the past quarter. October 22-23, 2009 Finally, the “how we pay for it” bug-a-boo. The Board will look closely at the dues Wildwood Lodge structure, revenues, and expenditures to reflect the current financial situations Lake Elmo, MN 55042 that we are all facing in order to retain current members, and hopefully attract new ones. Obviously, the possibility of reduced dues income would also mean Visit www.mactamn.org reducing operating expenditures in order to balance our budget. Subsequently, for upcoming details. the question becomes how does MACTA continue to provide services such as President's Report continued on page 3 2 MACTA CONNECTIONS lEGISlATIVE REPoRT lEGISlATIVE CoMMITTEE by: Joe Bagnoli, McGrann Shea Anderson Carnival Straughn & Lamb, Chartered UPdATE by: Jodie Miller, Legislative Committee Co-Chair In January, Governor Pawlenty released his budget which demonstrated just how difficult it is to balance a budget We had a very successful second annual Day at the Capitol with a $4.8 billion deficit. Passage of the federal stimulus on February 26, in spite of the biggest snowfall of the year package will provide some relief to the state; however, it coming that afternoon. Members met at the League of Min- is becoming clearer that the revenue forecast will show a nesota Cities building for a very informative workshop on deficit that could top $7 billion. The strong likelihood of this fundraising and revenue generation, presented by Dr. Reid massive deficit is supported by the continuing job losses – Zimmerman, Consultant, and Mike Wassenaar, Executive over 600,000 in January alone. Even Twin City Federal, the Director of St. Paul Neighborhood Network. Dr. Zimmer- Minnesota banking icon, whose name will grace the new man gave us plenty think about, including the importance University of Minnesota golden Gopher football stadium, of strategic planning, and the absolute necessity of evalu- announced that they were moving their headquarters to ation and measurement of an organization’s results. The . . . South Dakota. The state budget troubles are in turn consensus of the group was that we in the PEG business causing many cities throughout the state to wrestle with serve many different customers, and have many challenges decreasing local government aid. Unfortunately, there is in measuring our results. How many people are viewing our little end in sight in the near term. programs? How important are these programs in providing people with information, entertainment, or both? How do Broadband Mapping PEG facilities impact their communities? It was agreed that The broadband mapping project being conducted by this topic should be continued at future workshops and/or “Connected Nation” was presented to the Senate Energy and our annual conference. Utilities Committee and to the House Telecommunications subcommittee. They were quite laudatory of the state Mike Wassenaar gave a helpful case study on how SPNN indicating that we are very connected and that the speeds has increased its earned revenues, or non-cable-company- they were able to achieve were higher than in any of the four dependent funds, to 50% of its revenues. Mike emphasized other states where they have done this type of mapping. that PEG facilities need to tell our stories in terms of what we Neither legislative body had any discussion regarding how do for PEOPLE (not how many shows we produced or the information obtained by this mapping would be used. how many cameras we own). We are in the business You can find the “Connected Minnesota” website at http:// of helping people use technology to communicate, and we www.connectedmn.org/. Citizens were encouraged to visit must make a case for how vital we are in our community in this website to confirm the accuracy of service availability order to attract funding and in-kind support. SPNN has built maps for their community. Connected Minnesota stated many of its services around working with the non-profits and that they welcome feedback to improve their maps through agencies in its community. June, when the final report is due. Citizens are also urged to use the speed test tool on the website from both home Over lunch MACTA lobbyists Joe Bagnoli and Sarah Psick, and office locations. Legislative Committee co-chairs Mike Reardon and Jodie Miller, and LMC staff Ann Higgins updated the group on Statewide Franchising the three bills that we have been following closely, and The University of Minnesota was expected to submit a presented MACTA’s 2009 Legislative Principles and Day at report on the experiences of other states that have enacted the Capitol Talking Points. Both are available on the MACTA statewide cable franchising legislation to the legislature website at www.mactamn.org. Mike Reardon reported that in early February. The states in the study are Texas, MACTA is monitoring the MN Ultra High Speed Broadband Wisconsin, Michigan, North Carolina and Virginia. The staff Task Force closely. Its report is due to the legislature in member responsible for this report had some extraordinary November 2009. The Task Force has an excellent web personal tragedies; thus the report will likely not be ready for site where meeting agendas, minutes, and many additional the legislature until early March. We anticipate this report references and reports are available at http://www.ultra- generating considerable discussion and most certainly high-speed-mn.org. some legislative hearings. After lunch, members tromped through heavy snow to Conclusion the Capitol with several camera crews for meetings and As always, we encourage you to reach out to your local on-camera interviews with legislators. Green folders with elected officials by inviting them to your studios to discuss “leave-behind” materials were provided for the visits. Many issues that they are facing at the capitol and to educate them on the role of PEG in their community. Legislative Committee Report continued on page 3 SPRING 2009 3 Photo 1: Rep. Atkins and Mayor Park Photo 2: MACTA Lobbyists Sara Psick and Joe Bagnoli Photo 3: Sally Koenecke, Chris Vogt, Rep. Connie Doepke Photo 4: Mayor Tourville and Rep. Hansen Legislative Committee Report continued from page 2 other MACTA members will be meeting with legislators and televising town meetings events or legislative update programs in the coming weeks. Members are welcome to contact lobbyists Joe Bagnoli and Sarah Psick or me for assistance or to accompany members to meetings. And we encourage members to update us on your conversations after you have met. Reminder— We hold legislative committee conference calls monthly throughout the session and all MACTA agency members are welcome to join the calls. It’s a quick and efficient way to get up-to-the-minute reports on national FCC, Congress, Courts, ACM and NATOA issues, state MACTA, ACM and LMC updates, compare notes with other members regarding cable operator or PEG operational issues, and help make decisions or recommendations to the MACTA board on legislative-related issues. The next legislative conference calls are Thursday, March 12 and Thursday, April 9 at 1 p.m. Please contact MACTA’s administrative staff Laurie Krueger at email@example.com to receive e-mail notifications of legislative committee meetings and information. President's Report continued from page 1 services such as legislative and regulatory lobbying, keeping members informed about various issues, maintain a website, publish a newsletter, issue Action Alerts, answer the office telephone, keep files, prepare our tax returns, and yadda, yadda, yadda. I think you get the picture. The Board will address this soon in order to keep MACTA vital and productive in the future. In summation I return to the fundamental goal that the Board of Directors has set, and the point that the components of that goal are all interrelated. Having a clearer sense of what we do and how we do it, combined with member feedback, should help us create a better roadmap to how we pay for it all at a more affordable cost. As a Board we will serve the members as best we can, and as members we can strive to serve each other in the same way. 4 MACTA CONNECTIONS ABoVE BoARd: MACTA Board of Directors Update A group of MACTA members has been meeting and cor- of broadband. Various experts in attendance questioned responding with Katrina Kleinwachter, FCC DTV Outreach the methodology and the coverage accuracy of the mapping Coordinator for the Minneapolis-St. Paul and Mankato Mar- done so far. Because the mapping was done during winter kets, since December 2008. We have been sharing ideas for they also pointed out the wireless results statewide would improving and increasing public awareness about the DTV likely change once there were leaves on the trees, probably transition and learning what type and level of information and with less coverage than currently shown. The presenters materials could be utilized to help better inform residents, acknowledged that they were throwing out all of the data businesses, non-profit organizations, etc. collected so far because of limitations of the server used for the speed tests. They began stressing that the current maps The Legislative Committee planned MACTA's 2nd Annual were very preliminary, the revised mappings should be more "Day at the Capitol," held on Thursday, February 26. This accurate, and they would reflect all new speed test data as event consisted of fundraising workshops for PEG staff in the well as the concerns expressed during the presentation. The morning, legislative training over lunch, and legislator meet- broadband mapping project is scheduled for completion at ings with on-camera interviews in the afternoon. the end of June 2009. MACTA will hold its 26th Annual Conference on October 22 & The Board reviewed, revised, and adopted its Legislative 23, 2009 at the Wildwood Lodge in Lake Elmo, Minnesota. Principles for 2009. They will be distributed to the members Above Board continued on page 5 MACTA has created a one-page Question & Answer DTV Transition Guide for use by City Hall receptionists starting on Feb. 17. It has been shared with cities statewide throughout membership and the League of Minnesota Cities (LMC), and 2009 MACTA BoARd of dIRECToRS, been offered as a template to 911 call centers and NATOA offICERS, ANd CoMMITTEES members as well. President The MACTA Board of Directors completed its Planning Retreat Mark Moore - Apple Val- legislative Committee on January 23, 2009. Several primary issues were identified ley, Farmington, & Rose- Co-Chairs, Mike Reardon to be addressed very quickly that are meant for long-term im- mount Cable Commission & Jodie Miller pact with regard to the organization's relevance and finances. Those issues are: Vice President Communications Mike Reardon - City Committee u revising the Mission Statement to something that is of Saint Paul Chair, Chris Vogt shorter and better encompasses who we are, what we do, and why; Secretary-Treasurer Conference Committee C. John Harrison - City Chair, Heidi Arnson u conducting a satisfaction survey to in order to provide better of Minneapolis and more valuable services to the members; and Membership Committee director at large Chair, Mark Moore u restructuring the dues, revenues, and expenditures for Daniel Anderson - City 2010 and beyond. of New Ulm Ad Hoc Committees PEG At its February 18, 2009 meeting the Board adopted the new, director at large Co-Chairs, Daniel revised Mission Statement. It now states “MACTA supports, Laura Cook - City of Anderson & Laura Cook promotes, and protects local interest in community access Red Wing television (PEG), cable franchising, public right-of-way and long Range Planning cable/telecommunications public policy." director at large Interim Chair, Mike John Peterson - City Reardon The Legislative Committee reported on several recent pre- of Shakopee sentations by Connected Nation subsidiary Connect MN about the preliminary results of the Statewide Broadband director at large Mapping Study. Connect MN announced that Minnesota Chris Vogt - Lake rates as the fastest state they have mapped so far (number Minnetonka Communica- 5 of 5) and that both wired and wireless service covers virtu- tions Commission ally the entire state. They are using 768 KB as the definition SPRING 2009 5 Above Board continued from page 4 and posted on the website. We are also considering filing at the next Board meeting on March 18, 2009. Comments on the petition before the FCC concerning the carriage of PEG channels referred to as cases CSR-8126, The release of a study on the impacts of statewide franchis- CSR-8127, CSR-8128, and MB Docket No. 09-13. These ing outside of Minnesota for the State Legislature in Rep. cases have arisen due to AT&T's unequal treatment of mu- Sheldon Johnson's Telecomm Division was delayed until the nicipal PEG channels when compared to other basic service end of February. tier channels. The FCC has essentially combined the 3 cases for purposes of accepting Comments. MACTA's association management has merged with another company and the contact information for them now is: First drafts of the member satisfaction survey and the pro- John Arlandson and Laurie Krueger, Ewald Consulting posed dues rates were submitted during the Board meeting. 1000 Westgate Drive, Suite 252, St. Paul, MN 55114 Due to time constraints it was decided that revisions would Phone: 651.290.6282 Fax: 651.290.2266 be done via e-mail with final versions to be ready for adoption firstname.lastname@example.org nuCAT – NEw UlM CoMMUNITy ACCESS TElEVISIoN by: Daniel T. Anderson, Community Cable Access Coordinator, City of New Ulm The town of New Ulm recently implemented a new department in their local City Government. It's called nuCAT. The City Council decided that community access television needed a vehicle for citizens to utilize the electronic medium of cable TV to enhance the sharing of ideas and information to enrich our town. That vehicle is a "state of the art" facility which nuCAT has installed in the basement of the Public Library – complete with portable camera checkout, Final Cut Studio edit suite, and a tapeless TV studio. Over the last few months we have had 36 people take the instructional classes on how to use the equipment and make their own TV shows. During our "Open House" we went "LIVE" from the new studio with a 13- and a 16-year-old running cameras. Along with our "new" public access facility, nuCAT records all board and commission meetings held in the council chambers and replays them on the local channels. The City Council and Public Utilities Commission meetings are "LIVE" cablecast from the City Hall system every month. The third leg of duties includes productions of current events in our community and training seminars for city departments. One such event was New Ulm day at the Mall Of America on Jan. 26, where the premiere of the "New in Town" movie took place. nuCAT got some great footage and interviews from the stars of the movie which our community really enjoyed! In 2009 we plan to add another Final Cut Studio edit suite and another portable camera package for the public to use. Also on our first quarter agenda, we will install an Apple computer playback system and take over the cable access channel programming from the cable companies. This is an awesome system we learned about from our access friends up at SCCTV in White Bear Lake. It's a revolutionary approach to programming we discovered at the '08 MACTA Conference! Being networked together with other access facilities is a great benefit to our fledgling operation in New Ulm. It's great to have such awesome resources at our fingertips. 6 MACTA CONNECTIONS fRANCHISE fEES – wHAT CAN CITIES lEGAlly CollECT? by: Brian T. Grogan, Esq., Moss & Barnett A franchise fee is paid by a cable operator reviewed franchise fee payments, the LFA has no way to be to a local franchising authority (LFA) for the certain that franchise fees are being paid on all gross revenues privilege of using the public rights-of-way required under the franchise. Under Minnesota law an LFA and to compensate for the costs of regula- can reach back up to seven (7) years to review past franchise tion. It is the single most important element fee payments, unless the local franchise limits that timeframe. in any cable franchise and has resulted in If underpayments are discovered, the franchise will often allow numerous disputes between LFAs, cable for the imposition of interest on past due amounts and may operators and the FCC. Unlike PEG capital even require reimbursement of the LFA's costs to conduct fees which have a dedicated purpose under the review/audit. While the LFA's internal financial manager a local franchise, nothing under Minnesota law or Federal can conduct a cursory review of franchise fee payments, an law prohibits an LFA’s use of franchise fee revenue for any independent review by an expert that regularly conducts such purpose it desires. In fact, the Cable Act (47 U.S.C. § 542(i)) reviews often results in a more thorough analysis. specifically prohibits the FCC from regulating the use of rev- enue derived from franchise fees. what do Cable operators often omit from franchise fee calculations? This article will briefly review FCC and court decisions affect- 1. Franchise fee on franchise fee ing LFA authority to collect franchise fees on a cable operator’s Unless otherwise set forth in a local franchise, cable operators gross revenues as well as provide examples of information must include franchise fee revenue collected from subscribers LFAs may request when reviewing the accuracy of franchise as part of the operator's gross revenues. This “fee on fee” fee payments. Given that certain cable operators are ex- calculation was determined to be valid in a 1997 Fifth Circuit periencing challenging financial circumstances, particularly decision that invalidated a prior FCC Order. The Fifth Circuit Charter Communications, franchise fee reviews/audits may held that all money collected from subscribers, including funds be a prudent step for LFAs to consider to verify compliance used to pay franchise fees, must be included in a cable opera- with local franchise obligations. tor’s gross revenue. See Dallas v. FCC, 118 F.3d 393 (1997). This revenue source is often overlooked or ignored by some what are Gross Revenues? operators and could result in a 5% reduction in franchise fees The Cable Act provides a definition of “franchise fee,” but paid to an LFA. This may seem insignificant but it can add does not provide an express definition for “gross revenues” on up over time. If an LFA has 10,000 subscribers, the failure to which the franchise fee is based. The term “gross revenues” pay the “fee on fee” could mean a $100,000 underpayment is defined in each LFA franchise and most of the disputes over a 5 year period. regarding franchise fees involve this definition. In particular, whether an operator can properly exclude certain revenue 2. Non-subscriber revenue from the imposition of a franchise fee. Most LFA franchises In October 2001, the FCC issued an order (16 F.C.C. Rcd. include a definition that, at a minimum, contains the following 18192 (Oct. 4, 2001)) involving the City of Pasadena, California phrase: Gross Revenue means any and all revenue derived (“Pasadena Order”) which permitted cable operators to pass by Grantee from the operation of its Cable System within the through franchise fees to subscribers on cable television bills City to provide Cable Service. based on gross revenues that encompass “non-subscriber” revenue. Specifically, this non-subscriber revenue included What comes after this phrase in the local franchise typically income generated by advertising sales and home shopping serves to reduce the revenues on which the operator must commissions. As a result of the Pasadena Order many cable remit franchise fees. Because most operators have hundreds operators around the country increased franchise fees on if not thousands of local franchises to administer, it is difficult subscribers’ bills by .25% or more. The Fifth Circuit upheld the for the operator to calculate franchise fees differently for each FCC decision. See Texas Coalition of Cities for Utility Issues LFA. This generally means that one approach is used by v. FCC, 324 F. 3d 802 (5th Cir. March 27, 2003). The practical the operator for all LFAs and some LFAs are overpaid while result for LFAs is that cable operators can pass through as a others are underpaid. In truth, the individuals calculating the separate line item on subscribers’ bills all franchise fees due franchise fee checks for the operators often never review the and owing the franchising authority – including non-subscriber actual franchise language defining “gross revenues” before revenue such as home shopping and advertising revenues. a check is cut. The question is whether the operator is actually paying the LFA all the franchise fees due an owing for non-subscriber why is it important for an lfA to verify franchise revenue as required under the franchise. fee payments? For an LFA with 10,000 cable subscribers, a 5% franchise fee will yield over $400,000 per year. If an LFA has never Franchise Fees continued on page 8 SPRING 2009 7 NAToA UPdATE: The News From Washington: Some Sun On The Horizon? by: Coralie A. Wilson, Executive Director, North Suburban Communications Commission Although the final results won’t be known for a while, we parties who submitted the petitions are hoping for expeditious are starting to hear some positive news out of Washington, treatment at the Commission. D.C. In court action, the petition to the Supreme Court for a hear- First, the Economic Recovery Act, better known as the ing on the Sixth Circuit’s decision on the FCC’s First Report economic stimulus bill, includes over $7 million dollars for and Order on Video franchising was submitted on February broadband projects. In addition, the legislation, which has 10, 2009. Now we wait to hear whether the Court will take been signed by President Obama, includes requirements the case. that projects funded through the NTIA adhere to the FCC’s open access and network neutrality principles at a minimum. More information on all of these issues is available on the The bill also directs the FCC to develop a comprehensive NATOA website: www.natoa.org NATOA’s Policy and Legal national broadband policy. Although it is not yet clear how Committee meets on the first Wednesday of the month at 1 the funding will be dispersed, the many local governments in p.m. Minnesota that are planning fiber projects are preparing to get in line. (More details are available at http://www.natoa.org/ Another way to stay informed is to register for the monthly policy-advocacy/documents/Senate%20Appropriations%20 eNATOA sessions. The upcoming topics include: Conference%20Summary.pdf ) April 13 – Communications Policy Issues under the Second, as a follow-up to the September hearing before a U.S. New Administration and Congress House of Representatives Appropriations Sub-Committee, the Alliance for Community Media and several other parties May 11 – Why Your Community Needs a filed a petition for a declaratory ruling at the FCC over AT&T’s Telecommunications Policy Plan treatment of PEG access channels on its U-Verse system. In a separate petition, the City of Lansing, MI, and the City of June 8 – PEG Funding Models Dearborn, MI, asked the Commission to rule on Comcast’s “channel slamming,” i.e., moving the PEG access channels And finally, don’t forget the Spring Conference, May 18-19, off the basic analog tier to a digital tier of service that requires in Washington, D.C. Aside from the great sessions – which the use of a digital converter box. The FCC combined the include community broadband, government use of new media, separate petitions into one docket (DA 09-203) and solicited and a look at the future of communications in the new admin- comments, which are due on March 9, 2009. istration – the conference will give you a terrific opportunity to meet with your members of Congress. Communications These are both very significant issues, even for those com- is clearly a hot topic with the Obama administration, and we munities not served by AT&T or Comcast, because, if they finally have some friendly faces on key committees, including are successful in their treatment of PEG channels, you can be Senator Amy Klobuchar on the Commerce Committee. Again, assured that every other cable operator will do the same. The check the NATOA website for more information. [ items to share ] new website: ARTIClES foR NEwSlETTER: Check out the new Submit an article for the MACTA website at next MACTA newsletter. Submissions can be sent www.mactamn.org. to email@example.com. 8 MACTA CONNECTIONS P.E.G. CoMMITTEE INITIATEd by: Sally Koenecke, PEG Committee Member As stated on the MACTA website, MACTA works for our Two new board members, Daniel Anderson from New Ulm constituencies in a number of ways including “promotes and Laura Cook from Red Wing, are co-chairing the PEG and supports government uses of cable television including Committee. They are both very interested in promoting community programming.” At the MACTA Board retreat in the local programming efforts of our MACTA members. The December it was discussed that traditionally MACTA’s focus Committee will function similarly to the Legislative Commit- has been centered more around our regulatory objectives tee – inviting the membership to participate and provide input. and not as much on community programming advocacy. The Committee has met twice to discuss the role of the com- Serving as last year’s president, it was a goal to bring PEG mittee and possible goals. The first initiative was to create a more to the forefront of MACTA, and it was suggested at the Community Media promotional box on the front page of the retreat that MACTA create a PEG Committee. The purpose MACTA website. MACTA members can submit videos and would be to further the promotion and support of local (PEG) articles to the box. programming. The other two items appearing in the promotional box are P.E.G. stands for Public, Educational and Governmental pro- a description of what community media is and a “Featured gramming. Our 112 MACTA members may have television Minnesota Community Television Facility.” The first “featured” studios that facilitate all three of these, two of these or just facility was St. Cloud. Currently, New Ulm (nuCAT) is fea- one. Briefly, to distinguish the three, public programming tured since they just completed a new community television is typically produced by residents of communities who take production facility and recently had their open house. The television production workshops and produce programs of PEG Committee will promote “Featured Facilities” quarterly. their choice; educational programming may be produced Another function of the Committee may be to educate and by educational institutions (or for them) and governmental advocate for the many aspects of PEG, such as the value of programming is produced by governmental entities (often localism, media democracy, media literacy and other related cities). Generally paid production staff produce government topics in the public interest. The Committee also discussed programming. Productions could also be produced by a mix submitting newsletter articles and offering suggestions for of paid staff and volunteers. Whatever the mix of origination, session topics for the programming track of MACTA’s yearly MACTA supports community programming. This program- conference. In the future, the committee may also plan events ming may air on community television channels and may be to recognize producers and their programs. streamed on the Internet. Franchise Fees continued from page 6 what should an lfA do to verify the accuracy of calculation of franchise fees, if any, related thereto during the franchise fee payments? desk review period. A franchise fee payment audit or review should be regularly u Schedule(s) detailing bad debt expense and write-offs conducted by an LFA to ensure that the cable operator’s past related to franchise fees and subscriber revenue during the performance under the existing franchise has been accurate desk review period. and to uncover any franchise fee underpayments that may u Schedule(s) detailing franchise fee remittances to the have occurred in prior years. An audit or review is performed municipality during the desk review period. by analyzing information obtained from an LFA and its cable operator. The following is an initial list of documents generally The above list is an initial request for information with respect requested of a cable operator which are necessary to conduct to the franchise fee arrangement between the cable operator a review of the cable operator’s financial records: and a community. Additional information is often requested from a cable operator upon review of the initial response. u Detailed list of revenues, by month, collected from sub- scribers during the desk review period. Conclusion u Schedule(s) of the calculation of the subscriber franchise During these stressful economic times it is often easy to delay fees as used to determine the amounts remitted to the mu- or avoid audits or reviews in an effort to save money for an nicipality during the review period. LFA. However, this may in fact be the ideal time to review the u Schedule(s) of the calculation of and documentation for accuracy of franchise fee payments as it may well uncover any non-subscriber franchise fees incurred during the desk unpaid franchise fees due the City and thereby increase future review period. payments. If your LFA is served by an operator that is reported u Copies of financial statements or general ledger, preferably to be experiencing difficulty meeting financial obligations, it audited, for the desk review period. may be prudent to immediately review past franchise fee u Schedule(s) showing detailed descriptions of Other Rev- payments to ensure that the City receives all fees due and enues on the general ledger or financial statements and the owing under the franchise. SPRING 2009 9 SoUNd ByTES Compiled by: Chris Vogt, LMCC, MACTA Communications Committee Chair New farmington City Hall Updates Though staff moved into the new Farm- ington City Hall in September 2008, there was a considerable amount of interior and exterior work that had yet to be completed. Unfortunately, the TV Control Room was minimally operative due to various construc- tion delays that hampered the ability of Al- pha Video to finish the city meeting telecast system. Alpha was able to have the system fully up to speed by October, though some other aspects of the Control Room construction continued into early January 2009. However, Farmington now has a wonderful new building featuring a beautiful and highly functional Council Chambers with the ability to present audio and visual materials in a wide variety of formats on a big screen projector and large flat-panel monitors, and it sports a new state-of-the-art public address and audio system. The meeting telecast system now has five robotically controlled cameras plus a document camera, and the cable staff gets to work in a full sized 15’ by 20’ Control Room. Believe it Crime Stoppers 10 Most wanted is Back or not, the one in the old building was about 5’ by 7’ small. The City of Minneapolis in coordination with Hennepin County The new building will accommodate city and staff growth has brought back to life Crime Stoppers 10 Most Wanted, now projected to the year 2030 and should be in use for at least called Hennepin County’s Most Wanted. Hennepin County 20 years beyond that. We have also been documenting the produces the show with City of Minneapolis communications building construction on video and have begun production staff providing production resources. This show is distributed of a documentary about the project. to Bloomington, Brooklyn Park, Cottage Grove, Edina, Elk River, Richfield, and St. Louis Park through a DVD program Submitted by: Mark Moore, Apple Valley, Farmington, and sharing initiative. View it online here, http://shows.implex.tv/ Rosemount Cable Commission Qwikcast/router.aspx?WebcastID=1794 In another project, Minneapolis has been using social networking sites to pro- CTV North Suburbs mote our programs. We currently have 15 programs stored on Facebook and YouTube; they’ve all been getting a lot of For 24 hours, programming from CTV’s Roseville studio hits. was LIVE for a special event titled PEG Mania. This tribute to PEG (Public, Education and Government) programming Submitted by: C. John Harrison, Manager, Cable & Multi- began at 7 p.m. on Friday, February 20 and ran through 7 media Services, City of Minneapolis p.m. on Saturday, February 21. Staff and volunteers served as production crew, with some going the full 24 hours! Volunteers and community members signed up for 30-minute lMCC 25th Anniversary time slots during which they provided programming about Lake Minnetonka Communications Commission (LMCC) various topics. The shows ranged from informative appear- is celebrating 25 years of providing quality public, educational, ances by groups such as The Wildcat Sanctuary and Second and governmental programming to the Lake Minnetonka Chance Animal Rescue to a Rock Band competition. Food community. Throughout 2009, we will be producing a series and beverages were provided by local businesses. PEG of interviews with several of our past and present commis- Mania was an excellent opportunity to showcase community sioners, producers, and volunteers leading up to our “25th television and have fun at the same time. Anniversary Celebration and Producer Recognition” on September 24. Submitted by: Lori Pulkrabek Submitted by: Chris Vogt, Productions Manager, LMCC Minnesota Association of Community Telecommunications Administrators 1000 Westgate Dr., Suite 252 St. Paul, MN 55114 SPRING | 2009 MACTA 2009 BoARd of dIRECToRS PReSIDeNT DIReCTOR AT LARge DIReCTOR AT LARge Mark Moore Daniel Anderson Chris Vogt Apple Valley, Farmington & Rosemount City of New Ulm Lake Minnetonka Communications Cable Commission 1005 North Valley St Commission 7100 - 147th St West New Ulm, MN 56073 PO Box 385 / 4071 Sunset Dr Apple Valley, MN 55124 Phone: 507-359-8290 Spring Park, MN 55384 Phone: 952-953-2502 E-mail: danieltanderson@ Phone: 952-471-7125 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org ci.new-ulm.mn.us E-mail: email@example.com VICe PReSIDeNT DIReCTOR AT LARge MACTA OFFICe MANAgeMeNT Mike Reardon Laura Cook John Arlandson and Laurie Krueger City of St. Paul City of Red Wing Ewald Consulting City Hall, Rm 68 315 West 4th St. 1000 Westgate Dr., Ste 252 15 West Kellogg Blvd Red Wing, MN 55066 St. Paul, MN 55114 St. Paul, MN 55102 Phone: 651-385-3647 Phone: 651-290-6282 Phone: 651-266-8875 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Fax: 651-290-2266 E-mail: email@example.com E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org DIReCTOR AT LARge SeCReTARy-TReASUReR John Peterson C. 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