Montgomery County Executive Charles W. Gilchrist said yesterday he will reluctantly sign a new cable television bill that strips him of some of his exclusive control over cable while giving Montgomery its own local antitrust law.
Gilchrist said he would sign the bill in order to avoid further delays for citizens waiting to receive cable service.
Service is supposed to start 18 months from the time the County Council approves the cable franchise agreement.
Gilchrist criticized the antitrust section of the bill yesterday, rebuking the council for passing a law he said was unnecessary.
"There was no reason to regulate in a complicated field without knowledge," Gilchrist said. "It is time we stopped dreaming up new fears and new defenses against undocumented dangers."
The executive also made clear he was signing the bill in order to pry the cable television franchise agreement out of the council.
Council President David L. Scull said he would not put the contract on the council's agenda for ratification until Gilchrist signed the new bill.
A spokesman for Tribune-United of Montgomery County, the firm that has been awarded the county's cable TV franchise, said the company would have no comment until its lawyers could read a final draft of the new law.
Officials of the company have said they may want to renegotiate the contract now that the antitrust section is in place.