VERNON TOWNSHIP, NJ --- The Vernon Township council voted for a 10 year SEC-TV Consent Renewal at the recent township meeting, with only one member of the council objecting.
Service Electric has been serving the residents of Vernon Township since 1981 with television cable, phone, and internet connectivity.
"We are here to determine whether it should be renewed or not, and whether it meets the community needs and interests," said Michael Meliti of SEC-TV.
Meliti also stated that, “Of the 8,900 homes in the township, 5,126 of them are cable subscribers.”
Meliti presented the council with a consent application, which contained a map of the current cable stations, maps with service or no service, and a list of the companies rates.
“This application is extremely relevant for most councils in Sussex County,” Meliti noted.
The council had also become aware that in June of 2010, they were receiving a three percent fee for an 18 month period, which has recently dropped down to 2 percent.
“A two percent and three percent on franchise fee, can you tell us at what cost?” asked concerned Mayor Victor Marotta.
Sherry Laprisky, also representing SEC-TV explained that, “The two percent is on the basic fee,” which would illustrate that it does not pertain to the companies “triple play” package of internet and phone service.
“In January 2012, it seems that Service Electric has stopped producing copies of our meetings,” said council president Brian Lynch.
“If you want copies, we should be able to provide them to you,” replied Laprisky.
Marotta stated that he would like copies of all the missed meetings since that time.
Members of the council started having mixed feelings for various different reasons.
“I have had Service Electric for 35 to 40 years and I have had no complaints,” said councilman Patrick Rizutto.
“I am hypersensitive because of JCP&L. I would have liked to see more statistical information and 10 years is a long time for me,” stated councilman Eddie Dunn, who had objected to the renewal process.
Meliti explained during the presentation that, “It is ten years for a renewal and your sister towns have found this the most acceptable.”
Meliti also said, “The company is a non-exclusive franchise, you do not lock in, you can go and switch,” but also stated, “Service Electric is well under the cost of Cablevision and Comcast,” the other leading cable providers in parts of Sussex County as well.
“I’d like to see some kind of studio available to the citizens of Vernon," said councilman Dan Kadish. "It would be nice if the company were more willing to support it.”
Kadish was mainly concerned with using Sussex County Community College as “an outlet for culture.”
“I have some good insight on this,” said citizen Gary Martinsen. "We currently use SEC for the website. They are very courteous, nice on the phone, and work with us.”
Marotta and the council said they would like to investigate more.
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