[HISTORY: Adopted by the Town Council of the Town of Newton 3-9-2020 by Ord. No. 2020-3. Amendments noted where applicable.]
Editor's Note: This ordinance also repealed former Ch. A326, Cable Television Franchise, adopted 1-11-2010 by Ord. No. 2009-34.
The Town of Newton (the "Municipality") hereby grants to Service Electric Cable T.V. of New Jersey, Inc. (the "Company") its nonexclusive consent to place in, upon, along, across, above, over and under the highway, streets, alleys, sidewalks, public ways, and public places in the Municipality, poles, wires, cables, and fixtures necessary for the maintenance and operation in the Municipality of a cable television system and cable communications system. Construction, pursuant to said consent, is conditioned upon prior approval of the Board of Public Utilities.
For the purposes of this chapter, the following terms, phrases, words and their deviations shall have the meaning given herein. Such meaning or definition of terms is supplemental to those definitions given by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Rules and Regulations, 47 C.F.R. subsection 76.1, et seq., and the Cable Communications Policy Act, 47 U.S.C. section 521 et seq., as amended and the Cable Television Act, N.J.S.A. 48:5A-l et seq., and shall in no way be construed to broaden, alter or conflict with federal or state definitions:
- ACT or CABLE TELEVISION ACT
- Chapter 186 of the General Laws of New Jersey, and subsequent amendment thereto, N.J.S.A. 48:5A- l et seq.
- The grantee of rights under this chapter and is known as Service Electric Cable T.V. of New Jersey, Inc. ("SECTV").
- MUNICIPALITY or TOWN
- The Town of Newton, County of Sussex, State of New Jersey.
A public hearing concerning the consent herein granted to the company was held, after proper public notice, on December 9, 2019, pursuant to the terms and conditions of the Act. Said hearing, having been held and fully open to the public, and the Municipality having received all comments regarding the qualifications of the company to receive this consent, the Municipality hereby finds that the company possesses the necessary legal, technical, character, financial, and other qualifications, and that the company's operating and construction arrangements are adequate and feasible.
The Town hereby grants to the company consent to the issuance of a nonexclusive franchise by the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities 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 of Newton, 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 rights so granted include the right to use and occupy said highways, streets, alleys, sidewalks, public ways and public places, and all manner of easements for the purposes herein set forth and as provided by federal and state law, and are subject to the terms and conditions herein.
The consent herein granted shall expire 10 years from the date of expiration of the previous certificate of approval, as issued by the Board of Public Utilities (BPU).
Pursuant to the terms and conditions of the Act, the company shall, during each year of operation under the consent granted herein, 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 permitted by the Cable Television Act or otherwise allowable by law.
In accordance with N.J.S.A. 48:5A- 11, the Board of Public Utilities, through the Office of Cable Television, shall, consistent with federal law, prescribe just and reasonable rates, charges and classifications for the services rendered by a cable television provider. The Town acknowledges that under the Act, municipalities do not have the authority to regulate the rates the company charges subscribers for its services.
In the event that either the company and/or the Town breaches its responsibilities herein, both parties reserve the right to seek redress and/or to present a defense, administratively through the Board of Public Utilities, or at law in a court of competent jurisdiction.
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 proffer service to any persons, residents or business in conformance with its tariff on file with the Office of Cable Television, including any policies for line extension and/or nonstandard installations.
Restoration: In the event that the company or its agents shall disturb any pavement, streets, 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 to as good a condition as existed prior to the commencement of said work.
Relocation: If at any time during the period of this consent, the Municipality shall alter or change the grade of any street, alley, or other way or place, the company, upon reasonable notice by the Municipality, shall remove, re-lay, and relocate its equipment, at the expense of the company.
The company shall temporarily move or remove appropriate parts of its facilities to allow for the moving of buildings, and machinery, or in other similar circumstances. The expense shall be borne by the party requesting such action, except when required by the Municipality, in which case the company shall bear the cost.
Removal or trimming of trees: During the exercise of its rights and privileges under 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 into 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.
During the term of this franchise, and any renewal thereof, the company shall maintain a local business office in Sussex County for the purpose of receiving, investigating and resolving all complaints regarding the quality of service, equipment, malfunctions, and similar matters. Said 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, except on holidays.
During the life of the franchise, the company shall give bond to the Municipality, which bond shall be in the amount of $25,000.
The company shall provide public, educational, and governmental (PEG) access channels and facilities in accordance with its application for renewal of municipal consent.
The company shall provide services in accordance with its tariff for cable television service approved by the Board of Public Utilities.
In addition, the company shall provide the following services to the Town, free of charge:
Three cable connections for the Newton Police Department;
Eight cable connections for the existing Newton Fire Department and buildings;
Twenty-four classroom cable connections for Halstead Middle School;
Thirty classroom cable connections for Merriam Avenue School;
Five cable connections for Newton High School;
Two cable connections for Dennis Library;
Three cable connections for Newton Town Hall;
Four cable connections for the Newton Department of Public Works;
Two cable connections for the Newton Water Department;
Two cable connections for the Newton Sewer Department;
Two cable connections for the Newton Fire Museum; and
Two cable connection for the Newton First Aid Squad.
The complimentary services provided herein are for expanded basic cable service only. All subscribers, including those set forth herein, shall be fully responsible for the cost associated with any installation of service and with each digital box and/or other equipment that the subscriber maintains, which fees are determined by the company in accordance with the type of digital box(es) and/or other equipment that the subscriber maintains.
Although nothing herein shall require the company to carry or transmit any particular television stations or programming source, the company shall provide the subscribers in the Town with at least the same broad categories of programming, in approximately the same quantity, as are now provided, and which appear in the application for municipal consent.
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 amount of $1,000,000 combined single limit for bodily injury or death to one person, $500,000 for property damage resulting from any one accident, and an excess liability (or umbrella) policy in the amount of $10,000,000.
The contractor building the cable television lines shall file a worker's compensation certificate of insurance with the Town Clerk prior to commencing the work.
The Company shall cause all construction plans relating to work on any extension of its plant, or work which could have significant impact on public works within the Town, to be filed with the Town Engineer's Office.
The company shall not allow its cable or other operations to interfere with television reception or personal 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.
SECTV agrees that public meetings shall be held upon Town request, up to a maximum of one public meeting per year, to review the services provided by SECTV and any concerns raised by the Town and/or its residents. SECTV agrees to attend and participate in such public meetings.
All of the commitments and statements contained in the application and any amendment thereto submitted in writing to the Municipality by the company, except as modified herein, are binding upon the company as terms and conditions of this consent. The application and any other relevant writings submitted by the company shall be annexed hereto and made a part hereof by reference, as long as it does not conflict with state or federal law.
If any section, subsection, sentence, clause, phrase or portion of this chapter is for any reason held invalid or unconstitutional by any court, or federal or state agency of competent jurisdiction, such portion shall be deemed a separate, distinct and independent provision 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 it embodies required terms and conditions, and meaningfully can be incorporated into this chapter, shall be so incorporated, consistent with any applicable effective dates specified in such modification. To the extent that any such modification(s) places(s) limits on permissible terms and conditions, and any provision of this chapter becomes invalid by virtue of such modification(s), the preceding section, § A326-22, shall apply.
This chapter shall take effect upon its final passage and publication according to law.