JOINT CABLE TELEVISION ADVISORY BOARD

WEDNESDAY SEPTEMBER 1, 2004


MINUTES OF SEPTEMBER 1, 2004: James Bowe moved to approve the minutes of September 1, 2004. The motion was seconded by Steve Erwin and passed unanimously.


Members Present: Walt Iwaskiw, Chairman; James Bowe, Member; James Manahan, Member; Steve Erwin, Member; Barbara Jankowski, Member; and Scott Harp, Liaison Representing Newtown Township; Patrick Foster, Vice-Chairman; and Don Smith, Liaison Representing Newtown Borough.

Also present was Joseph Czajkowski representing Comcast Cable Communications, Inc.

CALL TO ORDER:

Chairman Walt Iwaskiw called the meeting to order at 7:44 p.m.

MINUTES OF JULY 7, 2004:

James Bowe moved to approve the minutes of July 7, 2004. The motion was seconded by James Manahan and passed unanimously.

NEW BUSINESS:

Scott Harp advised the committee members that Holy Family University and LaSalle University have agreed to split the cost of a new deck controller and donate the new equipment to the Township/Borough. Scott Harp advised he would have Karen Galardi contact Ron Weaver to discuss the new equipment. Walt Iwaskiw advised he would send thank you letters to the universities.

The committee members discussed franchise agreements. Scott Harp suggested reviewing some other franchise agreements. He advised he would provide copies for the committee members to review. The committee members agreed that reviewing other franchise agreements would help the Township be prepared for any new franchise agreements. Scott Harp suggested having James Manahan be involved with the review due to his legal background.

Scott Harp suggested having some joint meetings with local municipalities to share information. He suggested meeting with Middletown Township’s Cable Committee and Warminster Township’s Cable Committee. The committee members agreed to the idea. Scott Harp advised he would contact the appropriate people and update the committee members.

The committee members discussed the Township’s educational channels. Scott Harp suggested having James Bowe research the matter of the Council Rock School District, Bucks County Community College, Holy Family University and LaSalle University having equal use of the channel. James Bowe agreed to research and will advise the committee members.

The committee members discussed Verizon with regards to the upgrades being done within the Township and the Borough. Scott Harp advised that at this time Verizon has not advised the Township that the upgrades would involve cable or video, if cable or video were involved the Township and Verizon would have to draft a franchise agreement. The Committee members agreed the franchise agreement review exercise would help the Township to be prepared if Verizon were interested in drafting a franchise agreement. Patrick Foster advised the committee members on his discussions with Verizon workers in the field and local residents. The committee members discussed the status of telecom companies. The committee members discussed the process for Verizon to get their permits. Scott Harp advised the committee members that Verizon has taken all the proper steps. The committee members discussed contractors working within the Township/Borough. James Bowe advised the members on the meeting between Verizon and Tyler Walk’s Homeowner Association. Scott Harp advised he was pleased to hear that the Newtown Area is one of the firsts to be receiving the upgraded services, advising that if the project is done correctly the residents would be on the cutting edge of services. The committee members discussed services and pricing. Walt Iwaskiw suggested the Township question the codes department to see what Verizon told them. Scott Harp advised that Verizon did provide plans. Walt Iwaskiw advised he felt the Township should be aware of where Verizon is going with regards to telecom.

OLD BUSINESS:

The committee members discussed their recommendations for character generator. James Bowe explained the character generator on Channel 23 to the new members. Members discussed the videotape recording of the Ocean City, NJ character generator. Joseph Czajkowski advised the committee that Ocean City hires a company to provide the service, he would forward information to Walt Iwaskiw. Walt Iwaskiw suggested using historic pictures. Walt Iwaskiw advised he has been unable to meet with the person who is responsible for the community channel in Ocean City, NJ to discuss their character generator. The committee discussed the JDNC videotape. James Bowe suggested the following changes to the Township’s character generator – more interactive, update more frequently, calendar – advertise community events, contact information for the Council Rock School District, allow civic groups the opportunity to create a commercial, allow business organization to advertise (Exchange club, Veterans Group - Pancake breakfast). Walt Iwaskiw advised he would like to see more information with regards to Parks & Recreation activities, civic group events and updated more frequently. The committee members discussed restrictions. The committee discussed recommendations for the Township’s approval. The committee members discussed once the Township has approved the committee’s recommendations meeting with local organizations to provide them with information regarding their use of the Township’s character generator on Channel 23. The committee members discussed who at the Township is responsible for updating the character generator, Walt Iwaskiw advised he believes the Township’s technology department is responsible. The committee members discussed adding voice audio to the character generator. The committee members discussed the current audio on the character generator. The committee members discussed researching how the character generator works, they also discussed Wrightstown’s character generator. James Bowe advised he would look into how the character generator works. Joseph Czajkowski suggested the committee contact the Parks & Recreation Director in Horsham Township, he believes the Director could offer the committee a listing of rules and regulations regarding use of the character generator by local organizations. The members discussed inviting Ron Weaver, Newtown Technology Department to attend the next telecommunications meeting to explain how the Township’s character generator works. The members agreed to continue discussing their recommendations.

COMCAST UPDATE:

Scott Harp discussed the State’s legislative channel. He asked Joseph Czajkowski when the channel would be available. Joseph Czajkowski advised that PCN is available on the digital tier or the Township has the option to have the channel broadcast on one of the Township’s channels. Joseph Czajkowski advised he would provide the Township with the information needed with regards to broadcasting PCN on one of the Township’s channels.

Scott Harp advised that Comcast did repair any past problems with regards to pedestal locations within Tyler Walk and Newtown Crossing. James Bowe advised he felt the job was done very well.

Joseph Czajkowski updated the committee members on the following additions to the digital tier:

Joseph Czajkowski advised the committee members that Discovery tab has been added to Video on Demand.

Joseph Czajkowski updated the committee members with regards to the fiber cable hanging from the telephone poles along the Bypass near the OTN site. He explained the use of the fiber and advised the project should be complete by October 1, 2004.

Joseph Czajkowski updated the committee members with regards to the fiber cable coiled up at the Tyler Walk corner. He advised it could belong to Comcast or Verizon, he will look into and advise the committee members.

Joseph Czajkowski updated the committee members with regards to the Goddard School located at 119 Pheasant Run. He advised Comcast is waiting to hear back from the Goddard School.

The committee members questioned Comcast with regards to moving out of the Borough. Joseph Czajkowski advised that is just a rumor, and if Comcast were to move from their current location in the Borough their new location would have to remain in the Borough, per the franchise agreement.

Walt Iwaskiw questioned the status of CRSD head end. Joseph Czajkowski advised. James Bowe questioned the CRSD sharing the township channel with BCCC. James Bowe advised that at this time the channel is not being shared. Walt Iwaskiw advised he would research. The committee members discussed the programming time allotment for the local universities and colleges and CRSD.

OTHER BUSINESS/MEMBER COMMENTS:

The committee discussed the following:

ADJOURNMENT:

Patrick Foster made a motion to adjourn the meeting, which was seconded by James Manahan. The motion carried unanimously. The meeting adjourned at 9:02 p.m.

The next meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, October 6, 2004. The meeting will begin at 7:30 p.m., in the Newtown Borough Fire Station located at 14 Liberty Street, Newtown.

Respectfully submitted:

____________________________
Christy Holley, Recording Secretary