The Loudoun County Board of Supervisors failed to award a cable television franchise yesterday when it deadlocked on the two competing firms.
The board split down geographical lines, with three supervisors from the eastern end of the county favoring Cable Communications Corporation (CCC) and three from the western part of the county voting for Storer Cable Communications. Two supervisors abstained because of business affiliations with the competing firms.
Although the board had pledged to make a rapid decision about the 15-year franchise, none of the voting members was willing to break the stalemate.
Instead, the board voted to give its cable consultant, CTIC Associates, two weeks to recommend one of the two companies. Each company is to be given 15 minutes at a public hearing Thursday night to rebut any concerns raised by board members yesterday.
"I think the present vote indicates clearly the closeness of the competition between the two companies," said Supervisor Andrew R. Bird III (R-Sterling). "But we have got to make a decision, absolutely, no later than our next meeting." The other board members agreed to award a franchise at their April 18 meeting.
Supervisors Carl F. Henrickson (D-Broad Run), Betty Tatum (D-Guilford) and Bird said they favored CCC, a locally based firm, because CCC proposed setting up a separate receiving station for eastern Loudoun subscribers and would not divert resources from the Loudoun franchise out of the county.
Supervisors Travis L. Sample (D-Dulles), James F. Brownell (R-Blue Ridge) and Thomas S. Dodson (D-Mercer) voted for Storer, saying they supported the Florida-based cable giant because Storer proposed supplying service to the towns west of Leesburg and offered more coverage for the county schools. Frank Raflo (D-Leesburg) and John Milton (D-Catoctin) abstained.
CTIC Associates declined to recommend one company over the other when it submitted its final evaluation on the two proposals to the board last week, saying that the companies had different strengths and weaknesses.