The Takoma Park City Council last week authorized Mayor Sammie A. Abbott to sign a contract with Montgomery County to participate in the countywide cable television system, which would make the city one of the first areas in the county to be equipped for cable.
As part of the agreement with the county, Takoma Park will receive about $75,000 worth of video production equipment, said Bruce Moyer, chairman of the Takoma Park Citizens Cable TV Committee.
The city also will receive revenue from the county. The amount will depend on how many people in Takoma Park subscribe, compared with the number of subscribers in the county, Moyer said.
The county has agreed to install one of the five county satellite-access studios in Takoma Park at no cost to the city. The studio will be open to residents, who may borrow equipment to produce their own programs. Takoma Park also will have its own channel on the cable system, Moyer said.
Moyer said he expects the cable system to be completed by late 1984.
In other business last week, a brief verbal skirmish broke out when Abbott announced the City Council's decision to pay a $100,000 settlement to end a nine-year dispute with Montgomery County. The problem started when the city allowed the county to take over administration of its fire department. The firefighters' pension plan shifted from the state to the county, which required a higher contribution from local jurisdictions.
Former mayor John Roth signed an agreement in 1974 stating Takoma Park would pay up to $250,000, or one-third of the increase in the local contribution. But City Attorney Thomas J. Gagliardo said previous city councils had not authorized Roth to make that commitment. For years the county billed the city and added interest to the amount owed. The city ignored the bills.
Last week, former council member Clayton Forshee stood up in the auditorium and shouted at Abbott, "Where's the money going to come from?"
"Sir," Abbott shouted back, "you were on the council in 1974. I'd like to ask you where it went."
Council member Joseph Faulkner, who cast the sole vote against paying the settlement, joined the argument, saying $100,000 was too high. Abbott said the council under Roth was "sloppy" in handling the matter.