SCHENECTADY COUNTY Rotterdam leaders are tuning in to Open Stage Media’s proposal for comprehensive public access programming for the county, but one town is still leery of associated costs.
The Rotterdam Town Board on Wednesday, May 23, approved by a vote of 4-1 a contract with Open Stage Media for this year totaling $5,000 that solidifies OSM as the public access provider for the town. Councilman Robert Godlewski voted against the agreement.
Godlewski said the town hasn’t completed negotiations with Time Warner Cable for a new franchise agreement, so he urged board members to not support the resolution.
“Time Warner owes us, we don’t have to do anything,” Godlewski said. “I like Open Stage, I like what they do, it is not the issue. We have to negotiate with Time Warner … approving the town expenditure of funds will weaken our position.”
Supervisor Harry Buffardi said if the town didn’t approve an agreement with OSM “it would be cut off” and Time Warner isn’t prepared “to do this at this time.”
Deputy Supervisor Wayne Calder said, “For the sake of open government we need to take this on.”
Rotterdam joins the Town of Niskayuna in approving a contract, which Proctors CEO Philip Morris paints as towns helping fund operational expenses at OSM. Previously, the City of Schenectady was the only municipality funding the operations.
“It means that full services can be provided to the citizens of Rotterdam and it gets us closer and closer to having a nearly countywide system,” Morris said.
OSM took over SACTV, the previous public access provider, in February 2010 after the Schenectady City Council voted to approve the switch. Following the takeover, OSM began to use all three public access channels (16, 17 and 18) with government and education programming being moved to channels 17 and 18, respectively.