PORT MAY ENTER CABLE BUSINESS

November 02, 2001 11:00 pm

Dissatisfied with a proposed lease agreement, the Port of Brookings Harbor will explore the possibility of becoming its own cable television provider.

Port Manager Russ Crabtree recommended to port commissioners Tuesday that they reject the proposed agreement for cable TV service at Beachfront RV Park from Charter Communications.

Our recommendation is to not approve the agreement in any way, shape or form, Crabtree said.

He said there were too many stipulations in the agreement giving Charter almost limitless control, and costs would increase significantly.

Our cost would go up from $160 to $800 per month, he said. We would have to pay for any unused connections.

They would have ownership of the cable connections, and they could change the terms anytime they want on short notice.

The proposed agreement from Charter would charge a flat rate of $7.70 per month per RV space, regardless of whether it is occupied or if the tenant is using the cable connection at the unit.

The agreement also states it will retain exclusive title to and control of the (cable) equipment . . .

Crabtree proposed that the port look at providing its own cable service to port tenants and businesses.

Charter has a monopoly, he said. I firmly believe that the group of hotel and RV owners at the port are being taken for granted by Charter.

I think we can provide the service at less expense. Staff will bring back a recommendation and plan of action to the commissioners, and have the commission act quickly so we can get this going.

Crabtree said the port district apparently has the legal ability to have its own cable system, much like it did to start an Internet service.

The commissioners unanimously approved Crabtrees request.

In other business, the commissioners also approved the semi-annual write-off of bad accounts, although they expressed frustration over dock renters who are constantly delinquent.

Crabtree said the term write-offs wasnt really accurate as the port continues to pursue payment from the delinquent renters.

Commissioner Lloyd Whaley said he wants these repeat offenders removed.

What frustrates me is there are those who are having a tough time (financially) and they are trying their best to pay, he said, and these (repeat delinquent accounts) are just deadbeats who could afford to pay and just dont.

Cant we just evict them?

Crabtree said there are liability issues involved if the port were to lock up the boats of the delinquent owners or move the boats out of their dock into the ports dry dock storage area.

The commissioners authorized the port staff to look into ways of enforcing the past due accounts more stringently.

They also authorized the staff to publish a list of the delinquent boat owners in The Pilot.

Crabtree said he will report back to the board with a recommendation of how to address the situation.

The commissioners also approved a grant application to the Oregon Economic and Community Development Department for a planning and marketing study.

Crabtree told the commissioners that the port needs to implement a marketing program targeted at tourism and recreation.

The estimated cost of the project will be $25,000, with the port providing a 25 percent match, or $6,250, for the grant.

The board of commissioners also approved the cancellation of a lease with United Parcel Service (UPS).

The cancellation is effective Dec. 1, when UPS will relocate to Benham Lane on property adjacent to the Harbor Water District and Fire Department building.

The Port of Brookings Harbor Board of Commissioners will next meet in regular session Nov. 20 at 7 p.m. in the Harbor Sanitary District building on Lower Harbor Road.