LACONIA — Lakes Region Public Access television is hoping to bring the city of Franklin back on board as a paying member and is prepared to offer that city a six-month trial period for providing services, which would include broadcasts of city council meetings.
LRPA-TV's board of directors agreed Friday to Chairman Chan Eddy's suggestion that Franklin be offered a ''test run'' from July through December at a cost of a little over $5,000.
Eddy said that he will make the offer in writing to Franklin City Manager Elizabeth Dragon so that she can include that amount in the city budget before her May 4 deadline for submitting the budget to the council.
Eddy said that he made a presentation in February to the city council and is hoping that the city, which has 1,975 MetroCast Cablevision subscribers and would pay $10,389,75 a year under the new formula recently adopted by the LRPA-TV board of directors, will see the benefits of supporting local public access television.
Last month the board of directors approved a new fee schedule which will see member communities billed $5.25 per MetroCast subscriber, a rate which will see Laconia pay $26,772.50 compared to the $40,000 it has been billed in recent years. Laconia has 5,090 MetroCast subscribers.
Gilford, where Eddy was recently elected as selectman, recently approved $21,939.75 in funds for LRPA-TV, a vote he abstained on because of his affiliation with the organization. Gilford has 2,727 subscribers and based on the new fee will be billed $14,316 in the future.
Meredith, which has 2,216 subscribers and will be billed $11,634 and Belmont, which has 1,652 subscribers, will be billed $8,673.
Board member Nancy LeRoy of Laconia said that it is important that the 2016 contracts with subscribing communities be sent to them in May so that the board will know where it stands financially.
The board of directors also received a report Friday on progress in hiring a part-time station manager, according to Eddy, who says that the job has been offered to a candidate who has a strong sales and marketing background.
The station has been managed in recent months by interim Program Director Shane Selling, who is also a consultant to LRPA-TV. Selling was named to that position in early January after the directors, citing financial challenges, fired long-time station manager Denise Beauchaine.
The board recently voted to withhold its programming from MetroCast customers in 13 towns in the Lakes Region that declined its offer to dues and contribute to the LRPA-TV operating budget.
Alexandria, Alton, Barnstead, Bridgewater, Bristol, Deerfield, Gilmanton, Hebron, New Hampton, Northfield, Pittsfield, Sanbornton and Tilton all went dark as of March 20. Only Alton had been a paying member of LRPA in the past The other towns did not provide programming to the public access channels, but received the signal via MetroCast channels 24, 25 and 26.
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