The Montgomery County Council approved yesterday a process and schedule for awarding a multimillion-dollar cable television franchise, but again deferred action on a long application document specifying the minimum services to be provided.
Last week, the council had deferred to vote on approving the application document, known as the Request for Proposals (RFP), that, among other thing, requires the winning firm to make 50 cable stations available to 96 percent of the county's residents.
At issue in the delay was whether the council has the power to amend the document. Council member Esther Gelman has submitted a bill saying that no jobs may be offered to any of the decision makers for five years. Her bill, which goes to public hearing tonight, also requires lobbyist disclosures.
"I think the people of Montgomery County need to know that no one can buy tht franchise," said Gelman, who also wants financial disclosures by the competing firms.
But the council must await a report from the county attorney's office and the Maryland attorney general, to see if they have the power to make such requirements. The council deferred action on the RFP until Oct. 30.
By a unanimous vote, the council did approve a 17-point process and schedule under which a contract will be awarded approximately seven months after applications have been received.