Barbourville Utilities customers will see a rate increase in their cable bills at the start of 2018.
General Manager Josh Callihan announced at the November 9 City Council meeting that their retransmission agreements expire at the end of this year. In order to renew, broadcasting agencies are asking for as much as a 100 percent rate increase for channels such as ABC, NBC, CBS and FOX. Given the circumstances, Callihan reports this increase will have to be passed on to customers.
“Unfortunately, it has to be pushed down to our customers. It’s the content people who keep raising the price. So, if it’s $2 we pay today per customer, they want $4,” explained Callihan.
Customers will see the rate increase itemized on their bill under the All Fair Broadcast Basic Surcharge. Callihan stressed that BUC will not see any of the money from this increase; instead, it all goes to the broadcast companies.
“The overall bill is higher because you [the customer] have to pay that surcharge but we [BUC] don’t get any of that money,” continued Callihan. “We’re working on [the agreements] and we’re trying to negotiate those down but it’s going to be a few dollars on the bill, there’s no doubt about it.”
BUC has until the end of 2017, when the current agreement expires, to negotiate exact pricing.
To counter the bad news, Callihan also announced their Lexington cable channels will soon go fiber.
“We’ve secured a deal to get our All Fair channels brought in through fiber. Where we’ve had trouble with reliability because we’re so far away from Lexington, we’re going to get a direct fiber connection from Lexington so those will be much better,” said Callihan.
Council members had two main agenda items. They voted to renew the Knox County 911 Interlocal Agreement for the 2018 year with no changes. This is a contract with the Knox County Fiscal Court to dispatch the fire department and police officers. Currently, the agreement costs $100,000 total and quarterly payments of $25,000 are made.
This agreement has been renewed multiple years with no changes. Mayor David Thompson said he attempted to negotiate changes this time around but ultimately, agreed to keep everything the same for the upcoming year.
“I actually sat down with the Judge Executive [J.M. Hall] just to see if we could negotiate something different. He said they really couldn’t do anything at this time. He thought keeping everything the same was agreeable and he felt the Fiscal Court would agree with that, also,” said Mayor Thompson.
Council members voted to renew Cecil Davenport’s position on the Barbourville Housing Authority for another four years, set to expire on December 31, 2021.