The South Bethany Town Council held a workshop this past week and will most likely vote on a Mediacom franchise agreement at their upcoming regular council meeting.
At the workshop, the council heard from former Councilman Bob Cestone, who has been spearheading the efforts to formalize the new agreement, in cooperation with representatives of the towns of Ocean View, South Bethany and Millville — all of which were due for renewal of their franchise agreements — along with an attorney hired by the towns who specializes in such agreements.
Cestone said some of the things all the towns in the agreement asked for were a more basic television plan and automatic billing credits — both to no avail.
“People don’t have a lot to negotiate with,” he said, noting that the Public Service Commission would be the agency for customers living outside municipalities to go to for assistance with problems with Mediacom, but “we are the PSC for the town.”
The council talked about residents’ complaints with Mediacom’s customer service and lack of competition for Internet service — something they said affects more people as they come to town to work remotely.
“People are coming here and working,” said Mayor Kathy Jankowski, “it’s not just TV and movies.”
Cestone said that, for service issues, people are to call Mediacom first, then the franchising authority, which would be the Town.
“This is about as good as it we are going to get with it,” said Cestone of the draft agreement.
The council agreed they would pass a resolution accepting it at their July 12 meeting. They said a summary would be available at the July meeting and the agreement in its entirety would be available online.
Bethany Beach adopted its new agreement at their June 28 council meeting.
At the workshop, the council also further discussed bikes, wagons and carts — a subject they had discussed at their last council meeting, when a property owner brought up that people park alongside his private fence, sometimes even when bike racks are empty.
“We have a huge number of bikes, chairs on wagons, strollers, baby carriages and a huge number of bike racks not being used at all,” said Councilman Al Rae. He said the situation seems to vary by street.
“Is there some kind of solution for non-cars?” he asked, inquiring whether a car parking spot could be designated for things such as bikes and wagons.
Councilwoman Sue Callaway said they would have to be careful not to discourage the use of bikes, because “it is one less car. We really need to be bike-friendly and stroller-friendly.”
“Exactly,” Rae replied.
“Well, it doesn’t need to be resolved right now,” said Jankowski. The council decided it was something they could discuss in the future.
The next town council meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. on Friday, July 12.