Time-Warner Cable to pay $200k to York County in back franchise fees

Posted March 1, 2013 4:01 pm | Filed under Featured, Local News

Time-Warner Cable is paying more than $200,000 in unpaid franchise fees to York County.

County documents received Friday include a memorandum from York County Treasurer Beth Latham indicating the cable provider underpaid its finance fees by $205,389.01.

The memo was included in the packet York County Council members received Friday.

In the memo, Latham tells Interim York County Manager Anna Moore that Time-Warner Cable discovered the error in the calculation of franchise fee payments. Time-Warner, working under a previous franchise agreement, issued payments for 3% basic cable services. A subsequent franchise agreement, now instituted by the state, requires 5% of gross cable service revenues.

The underpaid bill covers fees between January 1, 2010 and September 30, 2012.

“This is something that we realized had not been calculated property and so we are making good and paying what the county is owed,” said Time-Warner Cable spokeswoman Rose Dangerfield. “Our customers will not see any impact from this.”

Time-Warner Cable should have paid $83,654.19 last fiscal year in franchise fees. By Comparison, Rock Hill-based Comporium Communications paid $768,234.08 in franchise fees.

“The Secretary of State’s Office now issues the franchise agreements,” Latham said in the memo. “However they do not provide enforcement or oversight services. The companies [like Time-Warner Cable] were only required to register with the State after their County agreement had required.”

Latham said the cable companies are responsible for calculating and paying their own bills. However, following the incident with Time-Warner Cable, that is going to change.

“By state statute, we are allowed to request detailed backup information annually,” Latham said.

The detailed financial information will allow county officials to determine if the franchise fees paid are accurate.

Latham said the additional funds will go into the county’s general fund, an account where the fees would have initially been deposited.