Belmont to get look at new Public Access TV plan next month

BELMONT — After hearing from Lakes Region Public Access television board member Joe Jesseman last night, Selectmen Ron Cormier and Jon Pike seem inclined to reverse positions and support paying the $15,000 annual dues bill.
Jesseman, also a Tilton selectman, said LRPA business model, as it is, is uinsustainable" in the long term but said the board will have a revised business plan to present to Belmont by July 15 — the date of their second meeting next month.
He said the LRPA Board was meeting this week to devise a new LRPA strategy that will be based on fee-for-service and sponsors.
In addition, Town Administrator Jeanne Beaudin said a student from the Shaker Regional High School who is interested in videography will tape the selectman's meetings for later broadcast.
Belmont decided to forgo public access television in May after they decided there was no sustainable business plan for the future of the service. They have also had trouble finding someone who can record meetings.
Selectman Ruth Mooney said she was personally upset that town resident and former LRPA founder Alan MacRae had come to their meeting three weeks ago and threatened to sue the town, saying it was contrary to what voters decided at an 2008 town meeting.
Beaudin said she checked with the town attorney who told her there was nothing in the 2008 warrant article that said the town has to tape the meetings nor was membership in LRPA implied.
Pike said he wants all meeting to be taped because of the town has been accused of being less than transparent, however should selectmen agree with the business plan going forward, he said it was not because of MacRea's threat.
Jesseman said MacRae did not speak for the LRPA board and is no longer associated with the public access television provider.