Wednesday, October 26, 2011

City hires specialists for Cox agreement

Law firm specializes in cable franchise contracts

Express Staff Writer

The Sun Valley City Council on Thursday voted to contract with a law firm that specializes in cable franchise agreements to help with negotiations with Cox Communications.

The city has fielded complaints about the technical quality and customer service from Cox. Cox representatives, meanwhile, have said they are eager to address those concerns.

Last summer, the council gave Cox a five-month extension while the city decided whether or how to renew its franchise agreement with the company. The franchise agreement covers cable television services, not telephone and Internet, which the company also provides to the Wood River Valley.

Mayor Wayne Willich appointed members of the public and the council to a committee to work with Cox toward a solution.

Councilmen and committee members Nils Ribi and Bob Youngman told the council Thursday that the committee had accomplished as much as it could, but outside legal counsel was needed to bring about the best possible outcome for the city.


"We've educated ourselves but we're in no position to draft an agreement," Youngman said.

The council voted to authorize the mayor to sign a representation agreement with Denver-based Kissinger & Fellman in an amount not to exceed $15,000.

Ribi said Kenneth Fellman is the best possible person for the job.

"He's an expert in this area," he said. "The biggest complaint and concern we heard from citizens was customer service. That is the one area that fortunately Mr. Fellman is very knowledgeable about and has done a lot of work in."

The goal is to have a draft agreement to the council by November so it can be voted on in December.

"We're hopeful that we can get better response, better service," Ribi said.

Rebecca Meany:

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