[HISTORY: Adopted by the Mayor and Council of the Town of Clinton 12-30-2003 by Ord. No. 03-21. Amendments noted where applicable.]
Editor’s Note: This ordinance superseded former Ch. A185, Cable Television Franchise, adopted 2-11-1992 by Ord. No. 92-1, as amended.
The Town of Clinton hereby grants to Patriot Media & Communications CNJ, LLC, and its duly authorized successors and assigns, its nonexclusive consent to continue to place in, upon, along, across, above, over and under the highways, streets, alleys, sidewalks, public ways, and public places in the Town poles, wires, cable, and fixtures necessary for the maintenance and operation in the Town of a cable television system conditioned upon approval of the Board of Public Utilities of the State of New Jersey.
For the purposes of this ordinance, the following terms, phrases, words and their derivations shall have the meaning given herein. Such meaning or definition of terms is supplemental to those definitions given by the Federal Communications Commission in their rules and regulations, 47 C.F.R. Subsection 76.1 et seq., and the Communications Act of 1934 at 47 U.S.C. Subsection 521 et seq., as amended, and the Cable Television Act, N.J.S.A. 48:5A-1 et seq., and shall in no way be construed to broaden, alter or conflict with federal or state definitions:
- Chapter 186 of the General Laws of New Jersey, and subsequent amendment thereto, N.J.S.A. 48:5A-1 et seq.
- The application for a cable television franchise filed by the company with the municipality and the Board of Public Utilities of the State of New Jersey.
- The Board of Public Utilities of the State of New Jersey.
- Patriot Media & Communications CNJ, LLC.
- The Federal Communications Commission.
- The Town of Clinton, County of Hunterdon, State of New Jersey.
- The Office of Cable Television in the Board of Public Utilities.
A public hearing concerning the renewal of the franchise herein granted to the company was held after proper public notice pursuant to the terms and conditions of the State Act. Said hearing, having been held as above stated and having been fully open to the public, and the Town, having received at said hearing all comments regarding the qualifications of the company to receive this franchise, hereby finds that the company continues to possess the necessary legal, technical, character, financial, and other qualifications and that the company's operating and construction arrangements are adequate and feasible, and that, therefore, the Town hereby grants the company a nonexclusive consent, franchise, right and privilege (herein, the “franchise”) to construct, erect, operate, modify and maintain, in, upon, along, across, above, over, and under the highways, streets, alleys, sidewalks, public ways and public places now laid out or dedicated and all extensions thereof, and additions thereto, in the Town such poles, wires, cables, underground conduits, manholes, and other television conductors and fixtures necessary for the maintenance and operation in the Town of a cable television system and cable communications system for the purpose of distributing television and radio signals, and other electronic impulses in order to furnish television and radio programs and various communications and other electronic services to the public. The right so granted includes the right to use and occupy said highways, streets, alleys, public ways and public places, and all manner of easements for the purposes herein set forth and as provided by the Federal and the State Act.
This consent shall be for 15 years beginning the earlier of January 1, 2004, or the issuance of a certificate of approval by the Board of Public Utilities.
The company, by accepting this ordinance, acknowledges that the municipality has awarded a fifteen-year renewal term upon the strength of the commitments made by the company, as set forth in the application and as modified or supplemented in this ordinance and any other written submissions of the company.
Pursuant to the Act, the company shall, during each year of operation under this consent, pay to the municipality 2% of the gross revenues from all recurring charges in the nature of subscription fees paid by subscribers to its cable television reception service in the municipality or any amount which is the greatest amount permitted by the Act or otherwise allowable by law.
During the term of this franchise, the company shall maintain a local business office or agent for the purpose of receiving and resolving all complaints regarding the quality of service, equipment malfunctions and similar matters, within a local, nontoll calling area of the entire franchise area of the municipality. Such local business office shall be open during normal business hours and in no event less than 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday. A nontoll service telephone number shall be maintained during other hours to meet the service requirements of the entire franchise area.
The Office of Cable Television is hereby designated as the complaint officer for the Town pursuant to N.J.S.A. 48:5A-26b. All complaints shall be received and processed in accordance with N.J.A.C. 14:17-7.1.
The consent granted herein to the company shall apply to the entirety of the municipality and any property hereafter annexed.
The company shall be required to complete an upgrade of the cable television system within the municipality in accordance with the consent order, dated February 6, 2003, Docket Number CM02090653, entered into between the company and the Board. The company shall complete and fully activate the upgraded cable television system by September 30, 2004, or such other date as permitted by the BPU. As soon as possible, the company will identify those streets in the municipality on which the company will be performing construction. Thereafter, the company will immediately contact the municipality to determine whether the municipality intends to pave those streets before the company's proposed construction. In that event, the company and municipality will cooperate to avoid a conflict between the company's proposed construction and the municipality's pavement plans.
Once the company's construction begins, the company will, upon reasonable advanced written notice, periodically meet with the municipality to apprise the municipality of the progress of the construction and compliance with the completion date.
Restoration. In the event that the company or its agents disturb any pavement, street surfaces, sidewalks, driveways or other surfaces in the natural topography, the company shall, at its sole expense, restore and replace such places or things so disturbed in as good condition as existed prior to the commencement of said work.
Relocation. If at any time during the period of this consent, the municipality shall rebuild, alter or change the grade of any street, alley or other way or place, the company, upon reasonable notice by the municipality, shall remove, relay and relocate its equipment at the expense of the company.
Removal or trimming of trees. During this franchise, the company shall have the authority to trim trees upon and overhanging streets, alleys, sidewalks and public places of the municipality so as to prevent the branches of such trees from coming in contact with the wires and cables of the company. Such trimming shall be only to the extent necessary to maintain proper clearance for the company's facilities. Such trimming shall follow generally accepted tree trimming practices and shall be only to the extent necessary to maintain proper clearance for the company's wires and cables. The company shall notify in writing and meet with the Town's Arborist 30 days prior to any planned tree trimming and shall comply with any of his directions regarding the method of tree trimming. Upon verbal notice to the Police Department, emergency tree trimming may be conducted at any time.
Landscaping. Prior to the start of the rebuild, the company will advise the municipality in writing of the addresses where large pedestals or underground equipment boxes are to be placed. The company will landscape these pedestals or equipment boxes to the reasonable satisfaction of the municipality.
Preconstruction conferences. The company will send representatives to preconstruction conferences for Town construction projections. Notices of the meeting will be sent to the Director of Operations, 100 Randolph Road, Somerset, NJ 08873.
Temporary wire changes. The company shall, on the request of any person holding a valid building moving permit issued by the Town, temporarily raise or lower its wires to permit the moving of buildings, machinery or in other similar circumstances. The expense of such temporary removal, raising or lowering of wires shall be paid by the person requesting same, and the company shall have the authority to require such payment in advance. The company shall be given not less than 10 days' advance notice to arrange for temporary wire changes. The Town shall not be responsible for the expense of removing, raising or lowering wires for any building owned by it which is being moved.
Facilities and equipment. In transmitting its television signals to subscribers in the Town, the company shall provide a quality of signal that is at least as good as that customarily provided under prevailing industry standards, and shall comply with any requirements imposed by the federal regulations, any federal law, and (to the extent not preempted by federal law) any state law relating to technical standards for the transmission of television signals, transmission quality, or facilities and equipment.
Compliance with standards. All facilities and equipment of the company shall be constructed and maintained in accordance with the requirements and specifications of the applicable ordinance and regulations set forth by the Town and/or any other local, state or federal agencies.
The company will construct and install all upgrades in full conformance with the requirements of N.J.A.C. 14:18-2.1 and will hold the municipality harmless from any liability arising out of the construction or operation of the cable television system in accordance with N.J.S.A. 48:5A-28 (e).
The company shall be required to proffer service along any public right-of-way to any person's residence or business located in those areas of the franchise territory described in this ordinance. Any additional extension of the cable television system will be made in accordance with the OCTV line extension policy (LEP). For purposes of the LEP, the minimum density of homes-per-mile shall be 25.
The rates of the company shall be subject to regulation to the extent permitted by applicable federal or state law.
The company will continue to operate and program a local origination channel that will be received by all subscribers within the municipality. Time will be made available annually for the airing of up to three programs of interest to the municipality's residents upon sufficient advanced notice.
At the conclusion of the company's upgrade as described in § A185-8, the company shall make available two access channels for use by the municipality, as set forth hereinafter. Each of said access channels shall be two-way capable.
The first access channel will continue to be the existing educational access channel which is shared by the North Hunterdon Regional High School and the South Hunterdon Regional High School and will have two-way capabilities upon the completion of the upgrade. Channel allocation may change but will be on the lowest tier.
The second access channel will be a new channel for the municipality known as the government access channel which will also have two-way capacity. The government access channel will be located at that location designated by the municipality prior to the completion of the upgrade.
The company, on behalf of the municipality, has provided through funding paid to the Township of Clinton, the funding for an educational access channel at North Hunterdon Regional High School. The company and the municipality acknowledge this contribution and the fact that it is on behalf of all students at the North Hunterdon High School including those from the Town of Clinton. In addition, the company shall provide the Town of Clinton with the sum of $12,000 to meet the Town's cable-related needs. This sum will be paid within 60 days of the issuance of a certificate of approval by the Board of Public Utilities.
The company will encourage access channel usage by providing production training courses free of charge to the North Hunterdon Regional High School and municipality.
Upon reasonable request, the company shall conduct a four-hour training course two times a year. Said training shall be held in conjunction with the Township of Clinton.
These training courses will focus on the production of community-based programs.
The company shall provide for the installation of one outlet and basic monthly service to each municipal building, public or private accredited school and public library in the municipality free of charge. The locations shall include, but not be limited to the following:
The Community Center, 63 Halstead Street.
The Municipal Building, 43 Leigh Street.
The Water Department “Barn,” at 43 Leigh Street.
The new police facility to be constructed at 47 Leigh Street.
The wastewater treatment plant (installation to occur when it is available in accordance with the OCTV line extension policy or when the Town installs a line to the sewer plant at its expense).
The Town of Clinton School, School Street (installation to occur in accordance with the OCTV line extension policy, the company's long drop policy, or when a line to the school is installed at the expense of the school).
The County Library Branch, Halstead Street (installation to occur in accordance with the OCTV line extension policy, the company's long drop policy, or when a line to the library is installed at the expense of the library).
Any Town of Clinton or Town of Clinton Public School facility constructed subsequent to the adoption of this ordinance which can be served in accordance with the OCTV line extension policy, the company's long drop policy, or when a line is installed at the expense of the Town or a third party).
The company has agreed to implement a senior citizen's discount in the amount of 10% of the monthly basic service rate to any person 62 years of age or older who subscribes to cable services and does not share the subscription with more than one person in the same household who is less than 62 years of age. Such subscribers must meet the income and residence requirements of the pharmaceutical assistance to aged and disabled (PAAD) pursuant to N.J.S.A. 30:4D-21. The company has agreed to apply the same discount rate to the disabled with the same PAAD eligibility requirements.
The company will, upon completion of the upgrade described in the application, provide two-way interactive services to its subscribers in the municipality.
The company agrees to maintain and keep in full force and effect, at its sole expense at all times during the term of this consent, sufficient liability insurance naming the municipality as an insured and insuring against loss by any such claim, suit, judgment, execution or demand in the minimum amounts of $1,000,000 for bodily injury or death to one person and $5,000,000 for bodily injury, death or property damage resulting from any one accident or occurrence. The municipality shall be named an additional insured under this policy.
The company shall be required to have the capability to override the audio portion of the cable television system in order to permit the broadcasting of emergency messages by the municipality pursuant to federal, state and county requirements. The municipality shall utilize the procedures approved by the State of New Jersey for such emergency uses. The company shall not be held liable for any injury suffered by the municipality or any other person, during an emergency, if for any reason, the municipality is unable to make full use of the emergency alert system contemplated therein.
Upon issuance of a final, nonappealable order of an appropriate agency or court of competent jurisdiction declaring the expiration, termination or revocation of the company's certificate of approval, the company at its sole cost and expense and upon the direction of the municipality, shall remove the cables and appurtenant devices constructed or maintained in connection with the services authorized herein, unless the company, its affiliated entities or assignees should, within six months after such expiration, termination or revocation obtain certification from the FCC to operate a cable television system.
The company shall make available representatives to meet upon the request of the municipality upon 30 days’ written notice for the purpose of reviewing the company's performance. The company's representative shall respond to the reasonable requests for information made by the municipality prior to or at such meeting.
The company shall have the authority to promulgate such rules, regulations, terms and conditions governing the conduct of its business as shall be reasonably necessary to enable the company to exercise its rights and perform its obligations under this franchise, and to assure an uninterrupted service to each and all of its customers; provided, however, that such rules, regulations, terms and conditions shall not be in conflict with federal, state laws or this ordinance.
The company shall not sell or transfer its CATV system to another, nor transfer any rights under this franchise to another, except as provided in the State Act.
Any modification of existing and applicable FCC rules resulting from amendment thereto by the FCC shall, to the extent applicable, be considered as a part of this franchise as of the effective date of the amendment made by the FCC, and shall be incorporated in this franchise by specific amendments thereto by the lawful action of the Town's governing body within one year from the effective date of the FCC's amendment or at the time of renewal of this franchise, whichever occurs first.
This ordinance and franchise is subject to all provisions of the State Act and Federal Act and to all lawful rules and regulations of the Board and OCTV, adopted pursuant thereto. The company shall at all times comply with the rules and regulations governing cable television operations lawfully promulgated and adopted by the Board. In the event of a conflict between the State Act and state regulations and any FCC or federal regulations, the FCC or federal regulations shall prevail.
The company shall not allow its cable or other operations to interfere with television reception or persons not served by the company, nor shall the system interfere with, obstruct or hinder in any manner, the operation of the various utilities serving the residents of the Town.
All of the statements and commitments contained in the application and any amendment thereto, except as modified herein, are binding upon the company as terms and conditions of this consent. The application and other relevant writings submitted by the company shall be annexed hereto and made a part hereof by reference.
If any section, subsection, sentence, clause, phrase, or portion of this ordinance is for any reason held invalid, preempted, or unconstitutional by any court or federal or state agency of competent jurisdiction, such portion shall be deemed a separate, distinct, and independent provision of this ordinance, and such holding shall not affect the validity of the remaining portions hereof.
Should any of the federal or state acts, regulations or pronouncements applicable to the regulation of cable television service be modified in any way, such modification, to the extent they embody required terms and conditions and meaningfully can be incorporated into this ordinance, shall be so incorporated, consistent with any applicable effective dates specified in such modification. To the extent that any such modification(s) place(s) limits on permissible terms and conditions, and any provision of this ordinance becomes invalid by virtue of such modification(s), § A185-29 shall apply.
This ordinance shall effect the earlier of January 1, 2004, or the issuance of a certificate of approval by the Board of Public Utilities.