Moffat County examines Bresnan sale |

Moffat County examines Bresnan sale

Brian Smith

The Moffat County Commission examined the recent sale of Bresnan Communications to New York-based Cablevision Systems during its meeting Wednesday.

Cablevision announced June 14 it would acquire Bresnan, which serves Craig, Meeker and Rangely among other cities in Colorado, Montana, Wyoming and Utah in a deal valued at $1.365 billion.

Jeremy Snow said the county would have an opportunity to voice concerns during the sale process in hopes of lobbying for expanded services, upgrades and other actions.

Snow presented the commission the opportunity to join a coalition of local cities and governments impacted by the sale being organized by Denver-based attorney Ken Fellman.

Snow said about 150 Bresnan subscribers living in Shadow Mountain could be affected by the sale.

Ultimately, the commission declined the opportunity to participate in the coalition, considering it could cost about $2,500 to join.

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The Craig City Council also examined the Bresnan sale at its July 27 meeting. Craig City Attorney Kenny Wohl presented the council with the opportunity to join the coalition, but the council also passed on the opportunity.

Traditionally, Snow said, the county has agreed with the decisions the City of Craig makes when it comes to managing the Shadow Mountain area.

"As Bresnan Communications, I can't imagine a situation where they would say, 'Well, we've made this agreement with the city and we are going to make a different agreement with you,'" he said. "Whatever they are going to give to the city, they are just going to give to us because they can just treat it all as one unit."

Snow said that because the city decided to opt out of the coalition, he didn't see how it would be to the county's advantage to be apart of the group considering the county didn't have any specific problems with service that needed to be addressed.

"It makes a lot of sense in my mind to support the city and say, 'Hey, if we can help out, if you can use us as leverage, great,'" he said.

Snow said the Bresnan sale might be an opportunity to request that Cablevision study possibly expanding services to other parts of the county and re-examine the county's franchise agreement with Bresnan.

Commissioner Audrey Danner said the county needs to be "mindful of how we treat Bresnan and their franchise fee" considering other telecommunication services than television service are available.

"Across the nation, town and communities and counties are trying to secure more dollars from the franchise because that is a value-added product," she said.

At its July 27 meeting, the city council expressed concerns that it would like to see the local Bresnan office remain open.

Craig City Manager Jim Ferree said a representative from Bresnan assured him the office would remain open considering the amount of sales conducted from the office.

Commission agrees to compressor assessment

At its Wednesday meeting, the county commission also approved, 3-0, waiving the bid process and contract with Diversified Thermal Services Inc., of Anaheim, Calif., for an assessment of the Ice Arena cooling system.

Commissioner Tom Gray said the company would look at the system and see "what is wrong and what needs to be done" to fix it.

The system has required extensive maintenance to keep the ice cold stemming from a warped chiller barrel.

Danner said the company has worked on similar equipment and has been able to repair or replace certain parts to keep the system running.

Gray and commissioner Tom Mathers traveled to Pinedale, Wyo., in hopes of purchasing a similar, used ice-cooling system, but said the system wouldn't be available before the start of ice hockey and skating season.

"We need to get going on this because of the time frame," Mathers said. "It is going to be ice skating season here in a month."

Also at the meeting

In other news, the Moffat County Commission:

• Approved, 3-0, a five-county core services program mental health services contract with Amy Goodwin of Steamboat Springs not to exceed $7,500.

• Approved, 3-0, a five-county core services program for mental health services second addendum with Rita Rhodes of Oak Creek increasing the contract to $21,677 from $20,000.

• Approved, 3-0, four oil and gas division orders for royalty interests with Quicksilver Resources Inc., Entek GRB LLC and J.W. Operating Company.

• Approved, 3-0, a consent agreement to assign interests in certain oil and gas leases with Samson Resources Company to Gulfport Energy Corporation.

• Approved, 3-0, a personnel requisition for two, part-time, assistant night manager back-up positions for the social services department.

• Approved, 3-0, the Cook exemption, in which 6.416 acres of land will be exempted off an 186-acre parcel.

• Heard a monthly report from Bill Mack of the road and bridge department.

• Discussed a health integration grant with Barbara West of social services. The grant is being requested by Connections 4 Kids from the Colorado Trust for $42,000 a year for three years to increase education and access for preventative oral health care for young children.

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