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(A) Notice. Upon the adoption of this chapter and the certification of the city by the FCC, the city or the ICRC shall immediately notify all cable operators in the city, by certified mail, return receipt requested, that the city intends to regulate subscriber rates charged for the basic service tier and associated equipment as authorized by the Cable Act of 1992.
(B) Cable operator response. Within 30 days of receiving notice from the city or the ICRC, a cable operator shall file with the city or the ICRC its current rates for the basic service tier and associated equipment and any supporting material concerning the reasonableness of its rates.
(C) Expedited determination and public hearing.
(1) If the city is able to expeditiously determine that the cable operator's rates for the basic service tier and associated equipment are within the FCC's reasonable rate standard, as determined by the applicable benchmark, the city shall:
(a) Hold a public hearing at which interested persons may express their views; and
(b) Act to approve the rates within 30 days from the date the cable operator filed its basic cable rates with the city.
(2) If the city or the ICRC takes no action within 30 days from the date the cable operator filed its basic cable rates with the city, the proposed rates will continue in effect.
(3) Such public hearing may be held in conjunction with other ICRC communities under the direction of the ICRC.
(D) Extended review period.
(1) If the city is unable to determine whether the rates in issue are 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 shall, within 60 days from the date the cable operator filed its basic cable rates with the city and by adoption of a formal ordinance, invoke the following additional periods of time, as applicable, to make a final determination:
(a) Ninety days if the city needs more time to ensure that a rate is within the FCC's reasonable rate standard; or
(b) One hundred and fifty days if the cable operator has submitted a cost-of-service showing seeking to justify a rate above the applicable benchmark.
(2) If the city has not made a decision within the 90- or 150-day period, the city 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 and on whose behalf the amounts are paid.
(E) Public hearing. During the extended review period and before taking action on the proposed rate, the city or the ICRC shall hold at least one public hearing at which interested persons may express their views and record objections.
(F) Objections. An interested person who wishes to make an objection to the proposed initial basic rate may request the secretary to record the objection during the public hearing or may submit the objection in writing anytime before the decision ordinance is adopted. In order for an objection to be made part of the record, the objector must provide the secretary with the objector's name and address.
(G) Benchmark analysis. If a cable operator submits its current basic cable rate schedule as being in compliance with the FCC's reasonable rate standard, the city or the ICRC shall review the rates using the benchmark analysis in accordance with the standard form authorized by the FCC. Based on the city or the ICRC's findings, the initial basic cable rates shall be established as follows:
(1) If the current basic cable rates are below the benchmark, those rates shall become the initial basic cable rates and the cable operator's rates will be capped at that level.
(2) If the current basic cable rates exceed the benchmark, the rates shall be the greater of the cable operator's per channel rate on September 30, 1992, reduced by 10% or the applicable benchmark, adjusted for inflation and any change in the number of channels occurring between September 30, 1992 and the initial date of regulation.
(3) If the current basic cable rates exceed the benchmark, but the cable operator's per channel rate was below the benchmark on September 30, 1992, the initial basic cable rate shall be the benchmark, adjusted for inflation.
(H) Cost-of service showings. If a cable operator does not wish to reduce the rates to the permitted level, the cable operator shall have the opportunity to submit a cost-of-service showing in an attempt to justify an initial basic cable rate above the FCC's reasonable rate standard. The city will review a cost-of-service review. The City may approve initial basic cable rates above the benchmark if the cable operator makes the necessary showing. However, a cost-of-service determination resulting in rates below the benchmark or below the cable operator's September 30, 1992 rates minimum 10%, will prescribe the cable operator's new rates.
(1) By formal resolution. After completion by the city or the ICRC of its review of the cable operator's proposed rates, the city shall adopt its decision by formal ordinance. The decision shall include one of the following:
(a) If the proposal is within the FCC's reasonable rate standard or is justified by a cost-of-service analysis, the city shall approve the initial basic cable rates proposed by the cable operator; or
(b) If the proposal is not within the FCC's reasonable rate standard and the cost-of-service analysis, if any, does not justify the proposed rates, the city shall establish initial basic cable rates that are within the FCC's reasonable rate standard or that are justified by a cost-of-service analysis.
(2) Rollbacks and refunds. If the city determines that the initial basic cable rates as submitted exceed the reasonable rate standard or that the cable operator's cost-of-service showing justifies lower rates, the city may order the rates reduced in accordance with division (G) or (H) above, as applicable. In addition, the city may order the cable operator to pay to subscribers, refunds of the excessive portion of the rates with interest (computed at applicable rates published by the Internal Revenue Service for tax refunds and additional tax payments), retroactive to September 1, 1993. The method for paying any refund and the interest rate will be in accordance with FCC regulations as directed in the city's decision
(3) Statement of reasons for decision and public notice. If rates proposed by a cable operator are disapproved in whole or in part, or if there were objections made by other parties to the proposed rates, the ordinance must state the reasons for the decision and the city must give public notice of its decision. Public notice will be given by advertisement once in the official newspaper of the city.
(J) Appeal. The city'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. 2722, passed 1-6-94)