The Whittier City Council has adopted an emergency ordinance that retroactively raises the franchise fee it collects from Sammons Communication Inc., the city's cable television provider. The company's 1986 fee, which is now due, is expected to increase to about $56,000, city officials said. It will be calculated on 3% of the company's total revenue, including movie channels, instead of the previous 3% of customer charges for basic service only. The effect is an approximate doubling of the franchise fee.
City officials say they intended to collect the maximum legal fee when they awarded the franchise to Sammons 10 years ago. A 1984 court decision raised the legal limit.
The franchise has another five years to run, but negotiations for renewal are beginning already. "There are some services we want to improve, and some things I'm sure they want to improve also," said June Yotsuya, administrative analyst. Cable franchise fees go into the city's general fund, she said.