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(A) Notice. A cable operator in the city who wishes to increase the rates for the basic service tier or associated equipment shall file a request with the city and notify all subscribers at least 30 days before the cable operator desires the increase to take effect. This notice may not be given more often than annually and not until at least one year after the determination of the initial maximum monthly charge per subscriber.
(B) Expedited determination and public hearing.
(1) If the City Council is able to expeditiously determine that the cable operator's rate increase request for basic cable service is within the FCC's reasonable rate standard, as determined by the applicable price cap, the City Council shall:
(a) Hold a public hearing at which interested persons may express their views; and,
(b) After consideration of the views of interested persons, either act to approve the rates within 30 days from the date the cable operator filed its basic cable rates with the city, or act to extend the review period as provided in division (C) of this chapter.
(2) If the City Council takes no action within 30 days from the date the cable operator filed its request with the city, the proposed rates will go into effect.
(C) Extended review period.
(1) If the City Council is unable to determine whether the rate increase is within the FCC's reasonable rate standard based on the material before it, or if the cable operator submits a cost-of-service showing, the City Council shall, by adoption of a formal resolution, invoke the following additional periods of time, as applicable, to make a final determination:
(a) Ninety days if the City Council needs more time to ensure that the requested increase is within the FCC's reasonable rate standard as determined by the applicable price cap.
(b) One hundred-fifty days if the cable operator has submitted a cost-of-service showing seeking to justify a rate increase above the applicable price cap.
(2) The proposed rate increase is tolled during the extended review period.
(3) If the City Council has not made a decision within the 90- or 150-day period, the City Council shall issue a brief written order at the end of the period requesting the cable operator to keep accurate account of all amounts received by reason of the proposed rate increase and on whose behalf the amounts are paid.
(D) Public hearing. During the extended review period and before taking action on the requested rate increase, the City Council shall hold at least one public hearing at which interested persons may express their views and record objections.
(E) Objections. An interested person who wishes to make an objection to the proposed rate increase may request the City Secretary to record the objection during the public hearing or may submit the objection in writing anytime before the decision resolution is adopted. In order for an objection to be made part of the record, the objector must provide the City Secretary with the objector's name and address.
(F) Delayed determination. If the City Council is unable to make a final determination concerning a requested rate increase within the extended time period, the cable operator may put the increase into effect, subject to subsequent refund if the City Council later issues a decision disapproving any portion of the increase.
(G) Price cap analysis. If a cable operator presents its request for a rate increase as being in compliance with the FCC's price cap, the City Council shall review the rate using the price cap analysis in accordance with the standard form authorized by the FCC. Based on the City Council's findings, the basic cable rates shall be established as follows:
(1) If the proposed basic cable rate increase is within the price cap established by the FCC, the proposed rates shall become the new maximum monthly charges.
(2) If the proposed basic cable rate increase exceeds the price cap established by the FCC, the City Council shall disapprove the proposed rate increase and order an increase that is in compliance with the price cap.
(H) Cost-of-service showings. If a cable operator submits a cost-of-service showing in an attempt to justify a rate increase above the price cap, the City Council will review the submission pursuant to the FCC standards for cost-of-service review. The City Council may approve a rate increase above the price cap if the cable operator makes the necessary showing; however, a cost-of-service determination resulting in a rate below the price cap or below the cable operator's then current rate will prescribe the cable operator's new rate.
(I) Decision. The City Council's decision concerning the requested rate increase, shall be adopted by formal resolution. If a rate increase proposed by a cable operator is disapproved in whole or in part, or if objections were made by other parties to the proposed rate increase, the resolution must state the reasons for the decision. Objections may be made at the public hearing by a person requesting the City Secretary to record the objection or may be submitted in writing at anytime before the decision resolution is adopted.
(1) The City Council may order refunds of subscribers' rate payments with interest if:
(a) The City Council was unable to make a decision within the extended time period as described in division (C) above; and
(b) The cable operator implemented the rate increase at the end of the extended review period; and
(c) The City Council determines that the rate increase as submitted exceeds the applicable price cap or that the cable operator failed to justify the rate increase by a cost-of-service showing, and the City Council disapproves any portion of the rate increase.
(2) The method for paying any refund and the interest rate will be in accordance with FCC regulations as directed in the City Council's decision resolution.
(K) Appeal. The City Council's decision concerning rates for the basic service tier or associated equipment, may be appealed to the FCC in accordance with applicable federal regulations.
(Ord. 94-14, passed 4-26-94)