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, according to Bruce Moyer, chairman of the Takoma Park Citizens Cable TV Committee.
The county also has agreed to install one of the five county satellite-access studios in Takoma Park at no cost to the city. This studio will be open for residents to 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 next year.
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 that began when the city turned over administration of its fire department to the county. The firefighters' pension plan shifted from the state system to the county's plan, which required a higher contribution from local jurisdictions.
Former mayor John Roth had signed an agreement in 1974 that 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 never authorized Roth to make that commitment, and for years, the county kept billing the city and adding interest to the amount owed. The city, meanwhile, ignored the bills.
Former council member Clayton Forshee stood up in the auditorium last week 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."