City of Kalamazoo, MI
Kalamazoo County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the City Commission of the City of Kalamazoo 2-7-1994 by Ord. No. 1566. Amendments noted where applicable.]
GENERAL REFERENCES
Cable television — See Ch. 41.
Cable communications — See Ch. 44.
Telecommunications — See Ch. 45.

§ 43-1 Title and purpose.

A. 
Title. This chapter shall be known and may be cited as the "Cable Television Basic Service and Associated Equipment Rate Regulation Ordinance."
B. 
Purpose. The purpose of this chapter is to regulate rates of cable television basic service and associated equipment through adoption of regulations consistent with the provisions of the Communications Act of 1934, as amended, including the Cable Television Consumer Protection and Competition Act of 1992, Public Law 102-385 and the FCC's rules and regulations promulgated pursuant thereto; and to provide procedures applicable to rate regulation which offer a reasonable opportunity for comment by interested parties.

§ 43-2 Definitions.

A. 
The following words and terms used in this chapter are defined as follows:
ACT
The Communications Act of 1934, as amended, specifically including the amendments contained in the Cable Television Consumer Protection and Competition Act of 1992, Public Law 102-385.
ASSOCIATED EQUIPMENT
Equipment used by a subscriber to receive basic service cable programming regardless of whether such equipment is also used to receive other tiers of regulated programming service and/or unregulated tiers of programming service(s). Associated equipment includes, but is not limited to:
(1) 
Converter boxes;
(2) 
Remote control units;
(3) 
Connections for additional television receivers; and
(4) 
Other cable home wiring.
BASIC SERVICE
The level or tier of cable television programming which includes, at a minimum, all signals of domestic television broadcast stations provided to any subscriber (except a signal secondarily transmitted by satellite carrier beyond the local service area of such station, regardless of how such signal is ultimately received by the cable system), a public, educational and/or governmental programming required by the franchise authority to be carried as a basic service, and any additional video programming signals added to the basic service by the regulated cable operator.
CITY
The City of Kalamazoo.
EXISTING RATES
The rates for basic service and associated equipment charged by a regulated cable operator on the initial date of regulation by the franchising authority.
FCC
The United States Federal Communications Commission.
FCC RULES AND/OR REGULATIONS
Any and all rules and/or regulations which the FCC promulgates and/or adopts pursuant to the Act.
FRANCHISING AUTHORITY
The City.
ORDINANCE, or THIS CHAPTER
This Cable Television Basic Service Regulation Ordinance.
RATE INCREASE
An increase in rates for basic service and/or associated equipment including among others increases in rates that are the result of reductions in programming provided under the basic service.
REGULATED CABLE OPERATOR
Any operator of a cable television system that is subject to regulation by the City.

§ 43-3 Undefined words or terms.

Any word or terms which is not specifically defined in § 43-2 of this chapter and Chapter 41 of the City Code of Ordinances shall be given its normal, ordinary meaning. Provided that any word which is used in this chapter but which is not specifically defined in § 43-2 of this chapter or Chapter 41, § 41-2 but which is defined in FCC rules or regulations shall have the meaning given to such word or term in the FCC rules and/or regulations

§ 43-4 Rate regulation — Adoption of FCC rules and/or regulations.

A. 
The City, by this reference, hereby adopts all rules and regulations regarding basic service rates and associated equipment rates which the FCC has or will promulgate pursuant to the Act, and makes said rules and regulations part of this chapter.
B. 
The City has submitted an application to the FCC for certification as a cable franchising authority pursuant to the Act. Upon certification as a cable franchising authority, the City shall regulate the basic service rates and associated equipment rates in compliance with the Act, the FCC rules and/or regulations and this chapter.
C. 
After the FCC's acceptance for filing of the City's certification, if no objection thereto has been filed within the time permitted for filing objections, the franchising authority shall send written notice of its certification and notice that it has adopted the required regulations, return receipt requested, to all regulated cable operators within the City.

§ 43-5 Designation of cable franchising authority.

A. 
Effective upon certification of the City as a cable franchising authority, the City Commission is hereby designated as the cable franchising authority for the City of Kalamazoo and shall execute the powers, duties and responsibilities given to the cable franchising authority in this chapter, the Act and the FCC rules and/or regulations.

§ 43-6 Regulated cable operators.

A. 
A regulated cable operator shall comply with all duties and obligations imposed upon the regulated cable operator by the Act, FCC rules and/or regulations, this chapter, and all provisions of Chapter 41 which are not inconsistent with the Act.
B. 
A regulated cable operator has the burden of proving that its submitted existing rates or a proposed rate increase complies with the Act and FCC rules and regulations.

§ 43-7 Submission of existing rate schedule.

A. 
Within 30 days of receiving the notice identified in § 43-4C of this chapter, a regulated cable operator shall submit an original of a written schedule of the regulated cable operator's existing rates to the franchising authority. Said schedule shall be addressed in care of the City Clerk. A copy of said schedule shall also be sent to the Cable Administrator.
B. 
The schedule(s) identified in § 43-7A of this chapter shall contain a detailed statement explaining whether the regulated cable operator's existing rates comply with existing FCC rules and/or regulations for basic service rates and associated equipment rates.
C. 
Upon receipt of the existing basic service rate and associated equipment rate schedule(s), the City Clerk shall provide the necessary schedules to the franchising authority within seven days.

§ 43-8 Franchising authority existing rate review.

A. 
Unless the time for conducting a public hearing and/or receiving information and comments from interested parties and entering a decision is extended by the issuance of a tolling order by the franchising authority pursuant to § 43-11 of this chapter, the franchising authority shall hold a public hearing on the existing rate schedule(s) or provide other reasonable means to obtain information and comments from interested parties within 30 days of the date the franchising authority received the schedule(s). If the time for conducting the public hearing and/or receiving information and comments from interested parties is extended pursuant to § 43-11 of this chapter, a decision shall be rendered before the extended time period expires.
B. 
The existing rates identified in the submitted schedule(s) of rates shall go into effect 30 days from the date of the Franchising Authorities' receipt of the schedule(s) unless the franchising authority disapproves the rate or extends the time period for conducting the review of existing rates pursuant to § 43-11 of this chapter.
C. 
If the franchising authority fails to act on the submitted existing rates by the end of the respective tolling period then the rates will remain in effect. If the franchising authority subsequently disapproves any portion of said rates, refunds may not be ordered unless a brief written order was issued by the franchising authority before the end of the respective tolling period directing the regulated cable operator to keep an accurate accounting of all its customers and the amounts paid by each as a result of said rates.

§ 43-9 Regulation of rate increases.

A. 
A regulated cable operator cannot institute a subscriber rate increase unless the regulated cable operator complies with the Act, FCC rules and/or regulations and this chapter.
B. 
A regulated cable operator which proposes a rate increase must submit an original of the proposed rate increase(s) request to the franchising authority, by filing with the City Clerk and must also submit one copy to the Cable Administrator.

§ 43-10 Franchising authority rate increase review.

A. 
Unless the time for conducting the public hearing and/or obtaining comments from interested persons and entering a decision is extended by the issuance of a tolling order by the franchising authority pursuant to § 43-11 of this chapter, the franchising authority shall either conduct a public hearing and/or provide reasonable opportunity for comment by interested parties and render a decision upon the regulated cable operator's proposed rate increase request within 30 days of receipt of a proposed rate increase request. If the time for holding the public hearing and/or obtaining comments from interested parties is extended pursuant to § 43-11 of this chapter, the public hearing shall be held and/or opportunity for comment by interested parties provided and a decision rendered, before the extended time period expires.
B. 
A proposed rate increase requested by a regulated cable operator will become effective after 30 days have elapsed from the date the franchising authority received the proposed rate increase request unless the franchising authority disapproves the proposed rate increase or extends the time period for conducting the review of the proposed rate increase pursuant to § 43-11 of this chapter.
C. 
If the franchising authority allows rate increases to go into effect at the end of the respective tolling period through inaction and then subsequently disapproves any portion of such rates, then refunds may not be ordered unless a brief written order was issued by the franchising authority before the end of the respective tolling period, directing the regulated cable operator to keep an accurate accounting of all its customers and the amounts paid by each as a result of said rates.

§ 43-11 Tolling order.

A. 
If the franchising authority is unable to determine, based upon the material submitted by the regulated cable operator that the existing rates or proposed rate increase(s) are reasonable or if the regulated cable operator has submitted a cost of service showing, then the franchise authority may toll the thirty-day deadline for an additional 90 days in cases not involving cost of service showings or for an additional 150 days in cases involving cost of service showings.
B. 
In order for the franchising authority to toll the thirty-day period pursuant to § 43-11 of this chapter, the franchising authority must issue an order explaining that additional time and/or information is necessary in order for the franchising authority to act upon the existing rates or the proposed rate increases. Said order must be in writing, by resolution adopted within said thirty-day period.
C. 
The franchising authority shall send a copy of the tolling order to the regulated cable operator by first class mail within seven days after the date of the decision.

§ 43-12 Public hearing.

A. 
The franchising authority shall not be required to conduct a public hearing if the franchising authority provides other reasonable opportunity for interested parties to comment on proposed rates. The franchising authority shall conduct a public hearing or use reasonable means to obtain or provide other reasonable opportunity for interested parties to comment on the proposed rates. If a public hearing on the review of a regulated cable operator's existing rates or on review of a proposed rate increase is conducted, the franchising authority shall provide the regulated cable operator and all other interested persons with the opportunity to comment on the rates either in person, in writing, or by agent.
B. 
The franchising authority may conduct as many public hearings as necessary to carry out the provisions of the Act, FCC rules and regulations and this chapter. The franchising authority may delegate the authority to conduct public hearings and/or to obtain the views of interested parties in accordance with FCC regulations to any person approved by the City Commission.
C. 
If the franchising authority deems it necessary, either prior to or following a public hearing, the franchising authority may direct the preparation of a written report for the franchising authority. This report may contain a recommendation to the franchising authority for its decision on the review of the existing rate schedule(s) or proposed rate request submitted by a regulated cable operator. This recommendation should also summarize and be based upon the schedule or request submitted by the regulated cable operator; comments or objections to the schedule or request which the franchising authority received from the regulated cable operator; any additional information received from the regulated cable operator; information which the franchising authority received from a consultant, its staff or its attorney; and other information which it deems appropriate.
D. 
The franchising authority shall send, by first class mail to the regulated cable operator, a copy of any report prior to the franchising authority's consideration of the report at a public hearing.

§ 43-13 Public hearing notice and/or notice of opportunity for comment by interested parties.

A. 
The franchising authority shall send a written notice of the date, time and location of any public hearing to the regulated cable operator which submitted the existing rates or proposed rate increase for review no less than seven days before the date of a public hearing. Said notice is to be sent to the regulated cable operator by first class mail.
B. 
The franchising authority shall cause to be published in a qualified newspaper of general circulation within the City, a notice of a public hearing on the existing rate schedule(s) or proposed rate increase request no less than seven days before the public hearing. Said notice shall:
(1) 
State that a regulated cable operator has submitted the existing rate schedule(s) or proposed rate increase request to the franchising authority for review pursuant to this chapter;
(2) 
State the location and times at which the public may examine the submitted schedule(s) of existing rates or proposed rate increase request.
(3) 
State the date, time and location at which the franchising authority will conduct the public hearing.
(4) 
State that all interested persons shall have an opportunity to comment on the rates at a public hearing, and/or to submit written comments on or before the date of a public hearing to the franchising authority.
(5) 
If the franchising authority or its designated representative, does not conduct a public hearing, it shall provide reasonable opportunity for interested parties to present their views.

§ 43-14 Franchising authority decision on review of existing rates or proposed rates.

The franchising authority shall issue a written order supported by its reasons, by resolution which:
A. 
Approves the regulated cable operator's existing rate or proposed rate increase; or
B. 
Disapproves the regulated cable operator's existing rate or proposed rate increase; or
C. 
Approves in part, and disapproves, in part, the regulated cable operator's existing rate or proposed rate increase; and/or
D. 
Orders a rate reduction; and/or
E. 
Prescribes a reasonable rate; and/or
F. 
Determines that a refund hearing should be held pursuant to § 43-15 of this chapter; and/or
G. 
Orders any further appropriate relief permitted by this chapter, the Act or the FCC rules and/or regulations.

§ 43-15 Refund hearing.

A. 
If the franchising authority determines that the subscribers to a regulated cable operator may be entitled to a refund pursuant to FCC rules and regulations, the franchising authority shall include a notice in its decision issued pursuant to § 43-16, that the franchising authority may hold a public hearing to consider ordering the regulated cable operator to make a refund to subscribers and/or provide other reasonable opportunity for interested parties to present their comments.
B. 
The franchising authority shall then conduct a public hearing and/or provide reasonable opportunity for comment by interested parties to determine whether to order a refund to subscribers and the amount of the refund.
C. 
The franchising authority shall send, by first class mail, to the regulated cable operator, written notice of the date, time and location of a public hearing and/or notice of opportunity for interested parties to comment. Said notice must be sent no less than seven days before any public hearing.

§ 43-16 Refund hearing — Decision.

A. 
At any refund hearing the regulated cable operator may appear in person, by agent or in writing to comment upon whether the franchising authority should order a refund.
B. 
Members of the public also may comment at the refund hearing, in person, by agent or in writing.
C. 
At the conclusion of the refund hearing and/or after the period to receive the comments from interested parties has expired, the franchising authority shall issue a written order, by resolution:
(1) 
Denying a refund; or
(2) 
Ordering the regulated cable operator to implement a refund.

§ 43-17 Notice of franchising authority decisions.

A. 
All decisions of the franchising authority issued pursuant to §§ 43-14 and/or 43-16 of this chapter shall be:
(1) 
In writing, and
(2) 
Effective as of the date the franchising authority makes the decision.
B. 
Notice of all decisions of the franchising authority issued pursuant to §§ 43-14 and/or 43-16 of this chapter shall be published in a qualified newspaper of general circulation in the City no less than 15 days after the effective date of the decision. Said notice shall include:
(1) 
A summary of the franchising authority's written decision;
(2) 
A statement that copies of the franchising authority's decision are available for public inspection;
(3) 
A statement as to the location at which, and time during which, the public may inspect copies of the franchising authority's decision.
C. 
The franchising authority shall send, by first class mail, a copy of the franchising authority's decision to the regulated cable operator.

§ 43-18 Proprietary information and production of documents.

The franchising authority may require the regulated cable operator to produce documents needed to make rate decisions, as well as all information provided to the FCC. Requests that proprietary information be held confidential shall be supported by the regulated cable operator and shall be handled in a manner analogous to the procedures and criteria set forth in the FCC's rules.

§ 43-19 Additional powers.

The City shall possess all powers conferred by the Act, the FCC rules and/or regulations, the cable operator's franchise, and all other applicable law. The powers exercised pursuant to the Act, the FCC rules and/or regulations and this chapter shall be in addition to powers conferred by law or otherwise. The City may take any action not prohibited by the Act and the FCC rules to protect the public interest in connection with basic cable service rate regulation.

§ 43-20 Failure to comply — Remedies.

The City may impose any and all legal and equitable remedies authorized by law against the regulated cable operator, including all remedies provided under a regulated cable operator's consent agreement with the City or side agreement with the City for failure to comply with the Act, the FCC rules and/or regulations, any orders or determinations of the City pursuant to this chapter, any requirements of this chapter, or any rules or regulations promulgated by law. The regulated cable operator's failure to comply with the Act, the FCC rules and/or regulations, any orders or determinations of the City pursuant to this chapter or requirements of this chapter or any rules and regulations promulgated pursuant to the Act shall be sufficient grounds for sanctions, subject to applicable law, including revocation or denial of renewal of a regulated cable operator's consent agreement.

§ 43-21 Severability.

The provisions of this chapter are hereby declared to be separable and if any clause, sentence, word, section, or provision is declared void or unenforceable for any reason, by any court of competent jurisdiction, it shall not affect any portion of the chapter other than said part or portion thereof.

§ 43-22 Repeal of conflicting ordinances.

All ordinances or parts of ordinances in conflict herewith are hereby repealed.