Adelphia to attend council meeting Thursday

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, September 10, 2003

There should be no surprises at this Thursday's council meeting.

Adelphia representatives surprised nearly everyone two weeks ago by attending a council meeting

after originally telling Mayor Bob Cleary that no one would be able to make it.

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Tracee Tackett, operations manager for the Ashland-Ironton systems, and Larry Mathews, general manager of the Huntington-Ashland-Ironton systems will attend the Ironton City Council's 6 p.m. Thursday meeting to talk with residents and to address the loss of WPBO.

The latest complaints against the company come from last month's channel adjustments that added nine channels but removed two from the basic service. It replaced Ohio Public Television, WPBO, with WKAS, a public broadcast channel from Kentucky. In addition to WPBO, Turner Classic Movies was moved to the digital service so basic cable subscribers also lost it.

After learning that Ironton Middle School used the channel Tackett said she would contact WKAS to see if they would allow WPBO to be carried as well.

Tackett said the company has addressed the WPBO issue but will wait until Thursday to make an announcement.

Overall, the adjustments enhanced the cable service because it allows similar channels, such as sports and news channels, to be grouped together, she said.

By moving WSAZ from channel 3 to channel 4 and WOWK from 13 to 12, it also eliminated "ghosting" -- the duplication of an image on-screen.

Tackett said only a small percentage of Adelphia customers have complained about the adjustments and some have even called to say thanks.

Virtually every council member has expressed dissatisfaction with Adelphia's recent decisions.

"I just have to wonder if you listen to the people in Ironton at all," Councilman Richard Price said last month. "This is not the entertainment we want. It seems it falls on deaf ears when you come to the meetings."

The city's franchise agreement expires in 2006.

The agreement only mandates that Adelphia act as a proper business within the city and maintain liability insurance and other legal requirements, but does not give council or the city the ability to tell Adelphia how to run its business regarding prices and channel lineup, Council Chairman Jesse Roberts said last month.

Also on the agenda, is an ordinance authorizing Mayor Bob Cleary to advertise for bids to sell a parking lot on the corner of Fifth Street and Park Avenue. Several potential clients have shown interest in the lot that takes up about a quarter of the block, he said.

Several requirements will be outlined in the sealed bid package including a minimum bid of $210,000, any development can only be for commercial development, it must have a total value of at least $500,000 including the property and must be completed within two years, Cleary said.

Council will also vote on legislation to renew the lease of the Depot building to the Greater Lawrence County Area Chamber of Commerce for two five-year terms.