For Negaunee, it’s all about choices in cable TV flap

The news from Negaunee this week wasn’t exactly new: The city owned and operated cable television system is operating at a deficit, again, and no one seems to know how to fix it, again.

A Page 1 story in Tuesday’s Mining Journal penned by Staff Writer Zach Jay had all of the details. According to the story, the city was required last year to file a three-year deficit elimination plan for its cable fund to the Michigan Department of Treasury.

But then the department rejected the city’s plan and requested a five-year budget projection showing the elimination of the fund deficit, according to an Oct. 4 letter sent by Negaunee City Manager Jeff Thornton to the mayor and the city council.

The story noted that Thornton recommended making the transfer from the general fund to cover the $19,472 deficit, which, because the treasury department rejected its plan, the city must do to comply with state law.

The council did that last week, but council members agreed that for the city to continue to provide cable services to Negaunee residents, something was going to have to change.

What that change might be and how it could come about is unclear. The Negaunee cable TV system has been in existence since the mid 1980s.

Here’s a suggestion we’d like the council and administration to consider: Either structure rates and offerings to cover costs and depreciation while putting a little away for anything unexpected, or get out of the cable TV business and leave it to the pros. Problem is, either course requires political leadership and access to a working calculator.

We urge the council to promptly and efficiently address this nettlesome and long-standing problem and put it behind them. The city of Negaunee, in our estimation at least, has much bigger fish to fry than constantly agonizing over its cable TV system.