effective in September 1998. City officials said Charter was overcharging
Joe Camicia, vice president of government and public relations for
Charter, questioned whether Glendale is trying to profiteer from its
decision to lower the fee in the upcoming months. Charter may now
eliminate the insurance program that enables cable workers to fix all
wiring problems within homes for free, he said.
That may force Charter to go to an hourly rate of $22.61 an hour,
which could mean more money for Glendale, Camicia said. Glendale has a 5%
tax on cable bills as part of a franchise fee.
"Some of us are not quite so trusting," Camicia said. "Why is it so
important for the city to do this? There is a big difference between 5%
on 95 cents than 5% on $23."
The comment irked Glendale officials. If the issue was so important to
Charter executives, asked city spokesman Ritch Wells, then why didn't
they attend a public hearing Tuesday?
"I find it unfortunate Mr. Camicia could make such an allegation,"
Wells said. "Reducing the wire maintenance fee will obviously make it
more affordable for subscribers, especially senior citizens on fixed
Charter reported to city officials a year ago it earns about $40,000 a
month or $480,000 a year from roughly 40,000 subscribers in the Glendale,
Burbank and La Canada Flintridge area. Cities such as Glendale and
Burbank would give up 5% of that total or about $1.20 per subscriber a
Camicia questioned whether the city has the authority to regulate the
maintenance plan, but FCC spokesman Mike Perko said it falls within the
city's discretion. Such decisions, however, are subject to review by the
federal agency, he said.