[HISTORY: Adopted by the Board of Trustees of the Village of Oakfield 5-9-1994 by L.L. No. 1-1994. Amendments noted where applicable.]
The franchising authority (Village of Oakfield) has the legal authority to administer, and shall enforce against any nonmunicipally owned cable television system operator (Cablevision Industries), as permitted therein, the provisions of Part 76, Subpart N, of the rules and regulations of the Federal Communications Commission concerning cable rate regulation, 47 CFR 76.901 et seq., as they currently read and hereafter may be amended, which are herewith incorporated by reference.
Any rate regulation proceedings conducted under § 121-1 hereto shall provide a reasonable opportunity for consideration of the views of any interested party, including, but not limited to, the franchising authority or its designee, the cable operator, subscribers, and residents of the franchise area. In addition to all other provisions required by the laws of the State of New York and this Village for such proceedings, and in order to provide for such opportunity for consideration of the views of any interested party, the franchising authority shall take the following actions:
The franchising authority shall publish in a local newspaper, post in a conspicuous place in the Village Office, located at 37 Main Street, Oakfield, New York 14125-1014, and mail, by certified mail, to the cable operator, located at 29 Cedar Street, Batavia, New York 14020, a public notice of the intent to conduct a public proceeding on basic service tier rates and/or charges for equipment to receive such basic service tier, as defined by the FCC.
Said public notice shall state, among other things, that cable television rates are subject to municipal review and explain the nature of the rate review in question; that any interested party has a right to participate in the proceeding; that public views may be submitted in the proceeding, explaining how they are to be submitted and the deadline for submitting any such views; that a decision concerning the reasonableness of the cable television rates in question will be governed by the rules and regulations of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC); and that the decision of the franchising authority is subject to review by the FCC.
The franchising authority shall conduct a public proceeding to determine whether or not the rates or proposed rate increase are reasonable. The franchising authority may delegate the responsibility to conduct the proceeding to any duly qualified and eligible individual(s) or entity. If the franchising authority or its designee cannot determine the reasonableness of a proposed rate increase within the time period permitted by the FCC rules and regulations, it may toll the effective date of the proposed rates for an additional period of time as permitted by the FCC rules and regulations and issue any other necessary or appropriate order and give public notice accordingly.
In the course of the rate regulation proceeding, the franchising authority may request additional information from the cable operator that is reasonably necessary to determine the reasonableness of the basic service tier rates and equipment charges. Any such additional information submitted to the franchising authority shall be verified by an appropriate official of the cable television system supervising the preparation of the response on behalf of the entity and submitted by way of affidavit or under penalty of perjury, stating that the response is true and accurate to the best of that person's knowledge, information and belief formed after reasonable inquiry. The franchising authority may request propriety information, provided that the franchising authority shall consider a timely request from the cable operator that said proprietary information shall not be made available for public information, consistent with the procedures set forth in 47 CFR 0.459 of the FCC rules and regulations. Furthermore, said proprietary information may be used only for the purpose of determining the reasonableness of the rates and charges or the appropriate rate level based on a cost-of-service showing submitted by the cable operator. The franchising authority may exercise all powers under the laws of evidence applicable to administrative proceedings under the laws of the State of New York and this Village to discover any information relevant to the rate regulation proceeding, including, but not limited to, subpoena, interrogatories, production of documents, and deposition.
Upon termination of the rate regulation proceeding, the franchising authority shall adopt and release a written decision as to whether or not the rates or proposed rate increase are reasonable or unreasonable and, if unreasonable, its remedy, including prospective rate reduction, rate prescription, and refunds.
The franchising authority may not impose any fines, penalties, forfeitures or other sanctions, other than permitted by the FCC rules and regulations, for charging an unreasonable rate or proposing an unreasonable rate increase. However, the franchising authority may impose fines or monetary forfeitures on a cable operator that does not comply with a rate decision or refund order of the franchising authority, directed specifically at the cable operator, pursuant to the laws of the State of New York and the codes, rules, and regulations of this Village.
Consistent with FCC rules and regulations, the franchising authority's decision may be reviewed only by the FCC.
The franchising authority shall be authorized, at any time, whether or not in the course of a rate regulation proceeding, to gather information as necessary to exercise its jurisdiction as authorized by the laws of the State of New York, the Communications Act of 1934, as amended, and the FCC rules and regulations. Any information submitted to the franchising authority shall be verified by an appropriate official of the cable television system supervising the preparation of the response on behalf of the entity and submitted by way of affidavit or under penalty of perjury, stating that the response is true and accurate to the best of that person's knowledge, information and belief formed after reasonable inquiry.
The franchising authority shall file with the FCC the required certification form (FCC Form 328) on September 1, 1993, or as soon thereafter as appropriate. Thirty days later, or as soon thereafter as appropriate, the Village of Oakfield shall notify Cablevision Industries, 29 Cedar Street, Batavia, New York 14020, that the franchising authority has been certified by the FCC and that it has adopted all necessary regulations so as to begin regulating basic service tier cable television rates and equipment charges.
Editor's Note: Now referred to as Spectrum.
With regard to the cable programming service tier, as defined by the Communications Act of 1934, as amended, and the FCC rules and regulations, and over which the franchising authority is not empowered to exercise rate regulation, the cable operator shall give notice to the franchising authority of any change in rates for the cable programming service tier or tiers, any change in the charge for equipment required to receive the tier or tiers, and any changes in the nature of the services provided, including the program services included in the tier or tiers. Said notice shall be provided within five business days after the change becomes effective.
The franchising authority may delegate its powers to enforce this chapter to municipal employees or officers ("cable official"). The cable official will have the authority to:
Administer oaths and affirmations;
Rule upon questions of evidence;
Take or cause depositions to be taken;
Conduct proceedings in accordance with this chapter;
Exclude from the proceeding any person engaging in contemptuous conduct or otherwise disrupting the proceedings;
Hold conferences for the settlement or simplification of the issues by consent of the parties; and
Take actions and make decisions or recommend decisions in conformity with this chapter.