[HISTORY: Adopted by the Town Council of the Town of Appomattox 4-12-1982 (Ch. 24 of the 1994 Code). Amendments noted where applicable.]
Business licensing — See Ch. 126.
The following words, terms and phrases, when used in this chapter, shall have the meanings ascribed to them in this section, except where the context clearly indicates a different meaning:
- Any person submitting an application to the Town for a franchise to operate a cable television system under the terms and conditions set forth by the Council.
- CABLE TELEVISION SYSTEM or SYSTEM
- Any facility that in whole or in part receives directly or indirectly over the air and amplifies or otherwise modifies the signals transmitting programs broadcast by one or more television or radio stations and distributes such signals by wire or cable to subscribing members of the public who pay for such services.
- CERTIFICATE OF COMPLIANCE
- That approval required by the FCC in order for a grantee of a cable television franchise to operate.
- The present governing body of the Town or any successor to the legislative powers of the present Town Council.
- FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION or FCC
- That agency as presently constituted by the U.S. Congress or any successor agency.
- The person to whom or to which a franchise is granted by the Council pursuant to this chapter or anyone who succeeds such person in accordance with the provisions of the franchise.
- GROSS SUBSCRIBER REVENUE
- Subscriber revenues derived from subscriber services, i.e., the carriage of broadcast signals and/or required nonbroadcast services provided by cable television systems pursuant to rules and regulations of the Federal Communications Commission.
- The surface of and the space above and below any public street, road, highway, freeway, lane, path, public way, or place, alley, court, boulevard, parkway, drive or other easement now or hereafter held by the Town for the purpose of public travel and shall include other easements or rights-of-way now or hereafter held by the Town which shall, within their proper use thereof for the purpose of installing or transmitting cable television system transmissions over poles, wires, cables, conductors, ducts, conduits, vaults, manholes, amplifiers, appliances, attachments, and other property as may be ordinarily necessary and pertinent to a cable television system.
The Council is hereby authorized to grant the right, privilege and franchise to construct, operate and maintain a cable television system in the Town for a period of 15 years from and after the passage, acceptance and effective date of the ordinance from which this chapter is derived, as amended, subject to the conditions and restrictions as hereinafter provided.
Any franchise granted pursuant to this chapter shall terminate 15 years from the date of grant and may be renewed for successive fifteen-year terms on the same terms or conditions as contained herein, or such different or additional terms and conditions as may be lawfully required by the Council, and consistent with the requirements of any then applicable rules and regulations of the FCC. Any franchise so granted shall be binding upon the Council and any successor authorized during the specified term of the franchise and so long as the grantee performs according to the conditions and restrictions of the franchise as set forth herein.
No cable television franchise or renewal thereof shall be issued except upon a written application which shall set forth such facts in detail as the Council may deem appropriate, including but not limited to:
If the applicant is an individual, partnership, or unincorporated association, its application shall contain the names and addresses of all persons (including corporations) having a proprietary or equitable interest in and to the prospective franchisee's business operation, and in and to the prospective franchise if awarded to the applicant. The term "equitable interest" shall include all assignments for value, as well as all contingent assignments of any right of privilege under the prospective franchise, and shall also include any benefit, payment, or emolument whatsoever resulting from the grant of a franchise under this chapter.
If the applicant is a nonpublic or closely held (less than 50 shareholders) corporation, its application shall furnish, additionally, the names and addresses of the officers, directors, and shareholders of the corporation, together with the number of shares held by each shareholder.
If the applicant is a publicly held corporation (50 or more shareholders), its application shall set forth the state in which the applicant is incorporated and/or qualified to do business and the names and addresses of the officers, directors, and any stockholders owning 5% or more of the stock of the corporation.
If such applicant operates or does business under an assumed name it shall conform to the state assumed name statute.
The application shall set forth full disclosure of the ownership of the property, both real and personal, to be used in rendering the service.
The application shall specify the sources of funds to be used by the applicant for the installation and maintenance of all cable television facilities and the sources of and amount of all money or credit obtained from any source whatsoever.
The application shall set forth a schedule of the rates to be charged subscribers for installation of equipment and regular subscriber services, the facilities to be employed and the general routes of the cables used in redistributing signals, the service area or areas, the proposed commencement and completion dates of construction of the cable television system and the proposed dates the services will be available to the area or areas named.
The Council may require such other information as it may deem appropriate.
All applications shall be available for public inspection and shall be kept on file a reasonable length of time at the discretion of the Council. Any intentional material misrepresentation in an application shall be grounds for its rejection or for termination of the franchise.
State law reference: Transacting business under assumed name, Code of Virginia, § 59.1-69 et seq.
The grantee shall pay to the Town as provided in this chapter a three-percent franchise fee based on gross subscriber revenues received for cable television operations in the Town for the preceding calendar year or portion thereof if the grantee has not operated for a full calendar year. No other fee, charge or consideration will be imposed by the Town. The grantee shall file with the Town within 60 days after the expiration of each calendar year during the period the franchise shall be in force an audited financial statement showing in detail the gross subscriber revenues of the grantee from this franchise during the preceding calendar year. The grantee shall pay the franchise fee to the Town at the time for filing such statement.
At all times during the term of the franchise, the grantee shall obtain and keep in force and pay all premiums upon and file with the Town executed duplicate copies evidencing the payment of premiums for a general comprehensive public liability insurance policy indemnifying, defending and saving harmless the Town, its officers, boards, commissions, agents or employees, from any and all claims by any person whatsoever on account of injury to or death of a person or persons occasioned by the operations of a grantee under any franchise granted under this chapter or alleged to have been so caused, with a minimum liability of $300,000 for personal injury or death of any one person, $500,000 for personal injury and death in any one single accident, and $100,000 property damage for any one single accident. The foregoing insurance contract shall require 30 days' written notice of any cancellation to both the Town and the grantee, and a copy of such policy shall be filed with the Town.
The grantee shall file with the Town a true and accurate copy of maps and/or plats of all existing and proposed installations upon the streets, and the maps and plats shall be kept up to date.
All books and records of the grantee concerning its operations within the Town shall be made available for inspection and audit by the Town or its designee within 30 days after any request for such inspection or audit shall be made.
Copies of all rules, regulations, terms and conditions established by the grantee for the operation of its cable television system under the franchise shall be filed with the Town and at the local address of the grantee.
By its award of the franchise, the Council approves the initial subscriber rates of the grantee as set forth in its application to the Town for a cable television franchise.
The grantee shall be authorized and permitted to engage in the business of operating and providing a cable television system in the Town, and for that purpose to erect, install, construct, repair, replace, reconstruct, maintain, retain in, on, over, under or upon such poles, wires, cables, conductors, ducts, conduits, vaults, manholes, amplifiers, appliances, attachments and other property as may be necessary and appurtenant to the cable television system. In addition, the grantee may negotiate for the use, operation and provision of similar facilities or properties rented or leased from other persons, including but not limited to any public utility or other grantee franchised or permitted to do business in the Town.
All structures, lines and equipment erected by the grantee within the Town shall be so located as to cause no interference with the proper use of streets, and to cause no interference with the rights and reasonable convenience of property owners who join any of such streets. The cable television system shall be constructed and operated in compliance with all adopted Town and national construction and electrical codes and shall be kept current with new codes or amended codes.
Whenever the Town shall require the relocation or reinstallation of any property of the grantee in or over or upon any of the streets of the Town, it shall be the obligation of the grantee upon notice of such requirement to immediately remove and relocate or reinstall such property as may be reasonably necessary to meet the requirements of the Town. Such relocation, removal or reinstallation by the grantee shall be at the sole cost of the grantee. In the event of an abandonment by the grantee of the grantee's property after a revocation of the grantee's franchise, the Town shall have the right to remove and relocate the grantee's property at the expense of the grantee.
The grantee shall have the authority to trim trees overhanging the streets of the Town so as to prevent the branches of such trees from coming in contact with the grantee's wires and cables. All trimming shall be done under the supervision and direction of the Town and at the expense of the grantee, after giving notice to the Town.
In case of disturbance, damage to or obstruction of any street caused by the grantee, its agents, employees, or servants, the grantee shall at its own cost and expense and in a manner approved by the Town replace and restore such streets to the same condition as before the damage was done.
The grantee shall provide the signals of television broadcasting stations as required by state statutes, including Code of Virginia, § 15.2-2108, but not excluding other pertinent sections.
The grantee's pioneering efforts in cable television are hereby recognized and it is agreed that the grantee will proceed in an expeditious manner in complying with requirements for minimum channel capacity and the provision of access channels; such compliance shall be completed within two years of the granting of a franchise.
The grantee shall conduct performance tests in accordance with the requirements of section 76.601 or any successor section of the FCC's rules, as these requirements may apply from time to time.
The performance of the grantee's cable television system shall meet the technical standards set forth in section 76.605 or any successor section of the FCC's rules as those standards may apply from time to time.
The franchise shall not be assigned or control or ownership of the grantee transferred without the consent of the Council.
The grantee shall not as to rates, charges, service facilities, rules, regulations or in any other respect make or grant any undue prejudice or advantage to any person or subject any person to any undue prejudice of disadvantage; provided, however, the connection and service charge may be waived or modified during promotional campaigns of the grantee.
In addition to all rights and powers reserved or held by the Town, the Town reserves the additional, separate and distinct right to terminate the franchise and all rights and privileges of a grantee in any one or more of the following events or for any of the following reasons:
The grantee shall by act or omission violate any term or condition of this chapter and, within 30 days following written demand by the Town, shall fail to effect compliance with this chapter or cure such act or omission or defect as set forth in the written demand.
The grantee becomes insolvent, unable, or unwilling to pay its debts or is adjudged a bankrupt or abandons for a period of 30 days its property, operation and service in the Town under the franchise.
The grantee shall not be declared in default or be subject to any sanction under any provision of this chapter in any case in which performance of any such duty or provision is prevented for reasons beyond its control, as determined by the Council.
Any injury, proceeding, investigation or other action to be taken or proposed to be taken by the Council in regard to the grantee's cable television system shall be taken only after public notice of such action or proposed action is published in a local daily or weekly newspaper having general circulation in the Town.
The public notice required by this section shall state clearly the proposed action to be taken, the time provided for response and the persons in authority to whom such responses should be addressed, and such other procedures as may be specified by the Council, including a hearing when an increase in subscriber rates is involved. If a hearing is to be held, the public notice shall give the date and time of such hearing, the nature of the public participation which will be allowed and the procedures by which such participation may be obtained. The grantee shall be a necessary party of such hearing and the hearing and notice shall be in pursuant to Code of Virginia, § 15.2-2106.
The grantee shall maintain a local business address and local telephone with no long distance charges to calling parties, or an agent in the Town for the investigation and resolution of all complaints regarding the quality of service, equipment malfunction, and similar matters.
Upon the annexation of any territory to or from the Town, any franchise granted shall extend to the territory so annexed.
Any modification or amendment of section 76.31 or any successor section of the rules and regulations of the FCC shall, to the extent applicable, be considered as part of any franchise granted pursuant to this chapter as of the effective date of the amendment made by the FCC and shall be incorporated in this chapter by specific amendments hereto by action of the Council within one year from the effective date of the FCC's amendment or at the time of renewal of the franchise, whichever occurs first.
As required by the Code of Virginia, § 15.2-2105, the grantee shall execute a performance bond and security bond in the amount of $50,000, or such other greater or lesser amount as the Town Council may deem appropriate. The performance bond and security bond shall be cash or with corporate surety approved by the Town.
No delinquent accounts for service or hookup fees owed to a previous grantee or allegedly owned Arco, Inc. (holder of a previous franchise) may be collected or attempted to be collected by any subsequent grantee.
No additional connection fees may be charged by the grantee to those already connected to the existing Arco, Inc. system or those customers disconnected from the Arco system because of poor service. Collection for cable television service under this chapter by the grantee shall be billed and collected after one calendar month of service has been provided each subscriber.
Any franchise granted pursuant to this chapter shall be accepted by the grantee by written acknowledgement filed with the clerk of the Town not later than 30 days after the effective date of the grant of the franchise.
All bids shall include all reports, schedules, plans, statements and other documents required by this chapter to be submitted with the proposal, and each bidder shall file with his bid a certified or cashier's check, payable to the Town, for $1,000. Such sum shall be refundable to all but the successful bidder. The Town reserves the right to reject any and all bids.