Spectrum commercial had former Lexington Mayor Jim Gray ready to stab his TV
The city of Lexington is cutting Spectrum cable in all of its government buildings by the end of May after it became impossible to track how many offices and departments had cable services.
The Lexington-Fayette Urban County Government had received free cable service in all of its buildings as part of the city’s cable franchise agreement with previous cable providers. But when Charter Communications and Spectrum took over the cable franchise two years ago, the city agreed to start paying for cable. In the first year, the city would pay 10 percent of its overall bill. That would increase 10 percent the following year for 10 years, until the city paid its full bill.
But the city and Spectrum couldn’t figure out how many divisions and departments had cable boxes, said Geoff Reed, General Services Commissioner for the city. The city tried to do an audit to show how many cable boxes and accounts there were across government but it was impossible to track cable boxes that were added over decades.
“During our audit we discovered that Spectrum was unable to provide us with exact information regarding the number and location of our cable boxes,” Reed said in a memo sent to city employees earlier this week. Moreover, cable bills were being paid out of different accounts, making it impossible for the city to track how much it was spending on cable. There had also been complaints from city employees about disruptions in service.
“We decided that we are going to cut cable to a limited number of people who can show that they need basic cable,” Reed said. “This will save us a considerable amount of money in the future when we have to pay the full bill.”
The vast majority of the city’s cable services will be cut May 31. Departments that can show there is a work-related need for cable can still get it. Most city employees no longer need cable, Reed said.
LexTV, which films and broadcasts city council and other government meetings, can be streamed online. Areas that want access to local television can use an indoor antennae, Reed said in the memo to city employees.
Reed said it’s difficult to know exactly how much the move will save the city this year.
The cord cutting comes as the city is tightening in response to stagnant tax collections. Mayor Linda Gorton unveiled a $379 million budget proposal Tuesday that included 15 percent cuts in some spending areas.