Ozark Audits Cable TV Provider

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Ozark city officials say cable provider, Charter Communications, has not paid all of the money owed in franchise fees, and now, they are expecting to collect.

The city is not only performing an audit to determine any owed money, they will also hold a public hearing to get resident's view's on the cable provider.

Ozark's leaders hope to regulate and oversee the city's cable service.

The city's franchise will come for renewal in 2008 and until then, the city will seek the public's view on the quality of service Charter Communications provides.

The city is set to hold a public meeting in December to hear comments about the current service and opinions on, if any changes should be made.
"I received lots and lots of comments and not all favorable about our cable system in Ozark. This is finally the time to renew that," says Ozark Mayor, Bob Bunting.

Right now, it may seem that Charter has a monopoly on Ozark, being the only cable provider. However, officials say other companies have looked at moving in, but the city isn't large enough.

The city is also performing an audit on the cable television provider.

Leaders have been told by auditors there is at least $37,000 dollars that's owed to the city because the cable provider uses the city's right of way.

It will cost the city nearly $15,000 dollars to perform the audit, which could bring around $22,000 dollars to Ozark’s general budget.

"We’d be good to put anything that we find to put in a ‘rainy day fund’ in case an emergency came up. Anybody at the public hearing on our budget knows that without a ‘rainy day fund’ or a surplus or without any reserves, you’ll be in trouble,” says Bunting.

If the results prove Charter Communication owes the city no money, the city will owe the auditor 75-percent of the cost of the audit, rather than the full amount.

If any money is found owed to the city from the cable television audit, the city council will determine where that money should go.