[HISTORY: Adopted by the governing body of the Township of Little Falls by Ord. No. 842 (Ch. XXV of the 1995 Revised General Ordinances). Amendments noted where applicable.]
Whereas, the governing body of the Township of Little Falls (hereinafter referred to as the "Township") determined that Cablevision of Oakland, Inc., (hereinafter referred to as the company or Cablevision") had the technical competence and general fitness to operate a cable television system in the Township, and by prior ordinance granted its municipal consent for Cablevision to obtain a nonexclusive franchise for the placement of facilities and the establishment of a cable television system in the Township.
Whereas, by application for renewal consent filed with the Township and the Office of Cable Television on or about July 24, 1999, Cablevision has sought a renewal of the franchise.
Whereas, the Township having held public hearings has made due inquiry to review Cablevision's performance under the franchise, and to identify the Township's future cable-related needs and interests and has concluded that Cablevision has substantially complied with its obligations under the franchise and has committed to certain undertakings responsive to the Township's future cable-related needs and interests.
Whereas, the governing body of the Township has accordingly concluded that the consent should be renewed subject to the requirements set forth below; and that, provided Cablevision's proposal for renewal embodies the commitments set forth below, the Township's municipal consent to the renewal of the franchise should be given;
Now therefore, be it ordained by the governing body of the Township of Little Falls, County of Passaic, and State of New Jersey, as follows:
For the purpose of this ordinance the terms defined above shall have the meanings there indicated, and the following additional terms shall have the following meanings:
- ACT OR CABLE TELEVISION ACT
- That statute of the State of New Jersey relating to cable television, known as the "Cable Television Act," N.J.S.A. 48:5A-1 et seq.
- Cablevision's application for renewal of municipal consent, which application is on file in the Township Clerk's office and is incorporated herein by reference and made a part hereof, except as modified, changed, limited or altered by this ordinance.
- The Board of Public Utilities of the State of New Jersey or its successor agency.
- Cablevision of Oakland, Inc. ("Cablevision") the grantee of rights under this ordinance.
- The Federal Communications Commission.
- FEDERAL ACT
- That Federal statute relating to cable communications commonly known as the Cable Communications Policy Act of 1984, 47 U.S.C. Section 521 et seq. and the Telecommunications Act of 1996, or as those statutes may be amended.
- FEDERAL REGULATIONS
- Those federal regulations relating to cable television services, 47 CFR Section 76.1 et seq., (and, to the extent applicable, any other federal rules and regulations relating to cable television, including but not limited to those described in 47 CFR Section 76.3), or as such regulations may be amended.
- The State of New Jersey.
- STATE REGULATIONS
- Those regulations of the State of New Jersey Board of Public Utilities relating to cable television; N.J.A.C. 14: 17-1.1 et seq., or as such regulations may be amended.
- The governing body of the Township of Little Falls in the County of Passaic, and the State of New Jersey.
A public hearing concerning the consent herein granted to Cablevision was held after proper public notice 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 Cablevision to receive this consent, the Township hereby finds Cablevision possesses the necessary legal, technical, character, financial and other qualifications to support municipal consent, and that Cablevision's operating and construction arrangements are adequate and feasible.
The Township hereby grants to Cablevision its nonexclusive consent to place in, upon, along, across, above, over, and under its highways, streets, alleys, sidewalks, public ways, and public places in the municipality poles, wires, cables, and fixtures necessary for the maintenance and operation in the Township of a cable television system, and for the provision of any communication service over the such system as may be authorized by federal or state regulatory agencies, operation and construction, pursuant to said consent, is conditioned upon prior approval of the Board of Public Utilities.
This consent granted herein shall be nonexclusive and shall be for a term of 10 years from the date of issuance of a certificate of approval by the Board.
If Cablevision seeks successive consent, it shall, prior to the expiration of this consent, apply for a municipal consent and certificate of approval in accordance with N.J.S.A. 48:5A-11 and N.J.S.A. 48:16, and applicable state and federal rules and regulations. The company shall also petition the Board for approval authorizing continued operation during the period following expiration of the consent granted herein, and until such a time that a decision is made by the Township and the Board relative to the renewal of said consent.
The consent granted under this ordinance to Cablevision shall apply to the entirety of the Township and any property hereafter annexed.
Cablevision shall be required to proffer video programming service along any public right-of-way to any person's residence within the portion of the franchise territory, as described in the application for municipal consent, at tariffed rates for standard and nonstandard installation. Cablevision shall extend service along any public right-of-way outside its service area to those residences within the franchise territory which are located in areas that have a residential density of 25 homes per mile or greater, or areas with less than 25 homes per mile where residents agree to share the costs of such extension in accordance with the line extension formula as provided by the company in its application for municipal consent.
[Amended 12-22-2008 by Ord. No. 1060]
Pursuant to the terms and conditions of the Cable Television Act, Cablevision shall pay to the Township, as an annual franchise fee, a sum, as set forth in Chapter 71, Fees, of the actual gross revenues received from all recurring charges in the nature of subscription fees paid by subscribers for its cable television reception services in the Township. In the event applicable law hereinafter permits a larger franchise fee to be collected, but does not fix the amount thereof, the Township and Cablevision shall negotiate in good faith with respect to the amount thereof.
Cablevision shall provide, free of charge, one standard installation and monthly cable television reception service to all state or locally accredited public schools and all public libraries, as well as the following municipal buildings located within the Township:
Cablevision shall perform construction and installation of its plant and facilities in accordance with applicable state and federal law. The company shall be subject to the following additional construction requirements with respect to the installation of its plant and facilities in the Township:
In the event that the company or its agents shall disturb any pavement, street surfaces, sidewalks, driveways or other surfaces, the company shall at its sole expense restore and replace such disturbances in as good a condition as existed prior to the commencement of said work.
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 Township shall remove or relocate its equipment, at its own expense.
Upon request of a person holding a building or moving permit issued by the Township, the company shall temporarily move or remove appropriate parts of its facilities so as to permit the moving or erection of buildings or for the performance of other work. The expense of any such temporary removal or relocation shall be paid in advance to the company by the person requesting the same. In such cases, the company shall to given not less than 14 days prior written notice in order to arrange for the changes required.
During the exercise of its rights and privileges under this consent, the company shall have the authority to trim trees upon and overhanging streets, alleys, sidewalks and public places of the Township so as to prevent the branches of such trees from coming in contact with the wires, cables, conduits and fixtures of the company. Such trimming shall be only to the extent necessary to maintain proper clearance for the company's facilities.
By the end of the calendar year 2002, the company shall upgrade the cable system serving the Township of Little Falls. The upgraded system will be capable of providing a minimum of 80 channels of programming.
Cablevision shall comply with the technical and customer service standards established for the cable industry under applicable federal and state laws, rules and regulations.
Cablevision shall establish and maintain during the entire term of this consent a local area business office or agent for the purpose of receiving, investigating and resolving complaints regarding the quality of service, equipment malfunctions and similar matters. Said office shall be open daily during normal business hours, and in no event less than 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday, with the exception of holidays.
The Office of Cable Television is hereby designated as the complaint officer for the Township pursuant to the provisions of N.J.S.A. 48:5A-26 and any complaints by local subscribers to cable television reception or service shall be filed directly with the said office. All complaints shall be reviewed and processed in accordance with N.J.A.C. 14:17-7.1.
Cablevision agrees to maintain and keep in force and effect at its sole cost at all times during the term of this consent, sufficient liability insurance naming the Township as an additional 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 or death resulting from any one accident or occurrence stemming from or arising out of the company's exercise of its rights hereunder.
[Amended 12-22-2008 by Ord. No. 1060]
Not later than 45 days after the effective date of this franchise, Cablevision shall obtain and maintain, at its sole cost and expense, during the entire term of this agreement, a bond to the municipality in an amount as set forth in Chapter 71, Fees. Such bond shall be to insure the faithful performance of its obligations as provided in this franchise.
The rates of the company shall be subject to regulation as permitted by federal and state law.
Cablevision shall be required to have the capability to override the audio portion of the system in order to permit the broadcasting of emergency messages by the Township pursuant to state and federal requirements. The company shall in no way be held liable for any injury suffered by the Township or any other person, during an emergency, if for any reason the municipality is unable to make full use of the cable television system as contemplated herein. The Township shall utilize the state-approved procedures for such emergency uses.
In the event that the Township approves or permits a cable system to operate in the community on terms more favorable or less burdensome than those contained in this ordinance, such more favorable or less burdensome terms shall be applicable in this consent, subject to a petition to the Board of Public Utilities as provided for in accordance with N.J.S.A. 48:5A-15 and N.J.A.C. 14:17-6.7.
In the event that a nonfranchised multichannel video programmer provides service to residents of the Township, Cablevision shall have a right to request franchise amendments to this ordinance that relieve Cablevision of regulatory burdens that create a competitive disadvantage to the company. In requesting amendments, Cablevision shall file with the Board of Public Utilities a petition for approval in accordance with N.J.S.A. 48:5A-15 and N.J.A.C. 14:17-6.7 seeking to amend the ordinance. Such petition shall: (1) indicate the presence of a nonfranchised competitor(s); (2) identify the basis for Cablevision's belief that certain provisions of this franchise place it at a competitive disadvantage; and (3) identify the regulatory burdens to be amended or repealed in order to eliminate the competitive disadvantage. The Township shall not unreasonably withhold or object to granting the company's petition and so amending the ordinance, subject to a petition to the Board of Public Utilities as provided for in accordance with N.J.S.A. 48:5A-15 and N.J.A.C. 14:17-6.7.
Upon expiration, termination or revocation of this ordinance, Cablevision at its sole cost and expense and upon direction of the Board of Public Utilities, shall remove the cables and appurtenant devices constructed or maintained in connection with the services authorized herein, unless Cablevision, its affiliated entities or assignees should, within six months after such expiration, termination or revocation obtain certification from the FCC to operate an open video system or any other federal or state certification to provide telecommunications.
Cablevision shall continue to make available noncommercial public, educational and governmental (PEG) access as described in the application for municipal consent.
The Township agrees that Cablevision shall retain the right to use the PEG access channel, or portion thereof, for non-PEG access programming, during times when the Township is not utilizing the channel for purposes of providing PEG access programming. In the event that the company uses said PEG access channel for the presentation of such other programming, the PEG programming shall remain the priority use and the company's rights with respect to using the channel for non-PEG programming shall be subordinate to the Township provision of PEG access programming on such channel.
Upon notification from the Township, Cablevision shall install the modulator and a forward and reverse return at the Municipal Building to permit the Township to access the public access channel directly.
All of the commitments contained in the application and any amendment thereto submitted in writing to the Township by the company except as modified herein, are binding upon Cablevision as terms and conditions of this consent. The application and any other writings submitted by Cablevision in connection with this consent are incorporated in this ordinance by reference and made a part hereof, except as specifically modified changed, limited, or altered by this ordinance, or to the extent that they conflict with state or federal law.
This consent shall be construed in a manner consistent with all applicable federal, state and local laws.
If any section, subsection, sentence, clause, phrase, or portion of this ordinance is for any reason held invalid or unconstitutional by any court 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 portion thereof.
This ordinance shall take effect upon issuance of a certificate of approval as issued by the Board of Public Utilities.