The attorney for the company that won Montgomery County's cable TV franchise told the County Council last night that the firm may want to renegotiate its contract with the county and raise its rates to consumers if a bill proposed by Council President David L. Scull is approved.
Any reopening of the county's contract with Tribune-United of Montgomery County at this late date, three weeks before the council is scheduled to ratify it, would further delay cable service, which is at least a year away for Montgomery residents.
Scull's bill would give the council control over almost every aspect of cable television in Montgomery. The county's cable television law, and the contract with Tribune-United, now gives the county executive almost complete control over administering the cable system.
At a council public hearing last night, Jay Ricks, attorney for the firm, told Scull that his bills to enhance the council's powers would probably increase costs to Tribune-United. Ricks said the bills "add to the regulation process both time and expense."
The bill "is unnecessary, and I am fearful it is going to impose a new cost on us that we will have to pass on to the consumer, and to do that we'll have to negotiate a new contract," he said.
Ricks said that 20 percent of the company's costs go toward administering the contract--including paying lawyers to appear before government administrative authorities.