City Council Revisits HCTV Board Representation Tonight

Stanley W. Colten.

City Councilor Colin F. LePage, chairman of Administration and Finance Committee.

City Councilor Colin F. LePage, chairman of Administration and Finance Committee.

A Haverhill City Council subcommittee tonight revisits the recent debate over the city’s representation on the Haverhill Community Television (HCTV) board of directors.

The council’s Administration and Finance committee is expected to discuss with representatives of HCTV reported changes to the group’s bylaws that eliminates board positions for the city, school department, library and Northern Essex Community College. The matter was brought to the city council last January by Councilor Melinda Barrett and referred to Administration and Finance. At their previous meeting on March 5, discussion was tabled when only one HCTV representative, Stanley W. Colten, appeared.

Last fall, Colten was informed he had been ousted from the board. However, upon an inquiry by Barrett, attorney Michael J. Hart, representing HCTV, said Colten had been duly elected to serve until 2017.

Because HCTV is a private organization, councilors are limited in what direct actions they may take. However, some have hinted the city could reduce or withdraw funding altogether during the next round of contract negotiations with Comcast, the city’s cable provider. The city unilaterally decides how Comcast’s approximately $1 million a year in franchise fees are allocated. Nearly all of HCTV's revenue comes from Comcast fees, according to publicly available tax returns.

School Committeeman Paul A. Magliocchetti has also been vying to win a seat on HCTV's board as the city's school representative.

Also on the subcommittee’s agenda, discussions relating to sizes of food trucks allowed under the peddling and soliciting ordinance and a discussion on the city’s taxicab and buses ordinance.

The Administration and Finance committee meeting begins at 7 p.m., Wednesday, in the city council office, room 204, at Haverhill City Hall.

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