The agreement between the City of Coral Springs and Advanced Cable Communications was pulled from the agenda of the February 6th meeting. No reason was given. However, Coralsprings.com has obtained a copy of the agreement and most interestingly the City is obtaining revenue from the the cable company, at our expense. The current contract on the table with Advanced Cable Communications states that Advanced will pay the City 5% of the gross revenues they obtain from their subscribers. Since almost all of the 35,000 households in the city, subscribes to the one and only cable company, the 5% is really coming from the taxpayers pockets. The cable company takes into consideration the 5% when working out how much to charge their customers. This 5% is the City’s ‘Vig’ (vig: amount taken off of a bet or winnings as compensation to the casino) for allowing Advanced Cable Communications to do business in their territory. It appears as a “Franchise Fee” on your statement each month and many people do not realize that this amount is a tax. Advanced Cable Communications does not pay this amount. We do. Additionally, the cable company will give 50 cents per subscriber per month to the city for Capital Improvements. Again, they get the money from us anyways, another form of invisible taxation.
Another clause forces Advanced Cable to provide our city government with internet service, cable TV, and the wiring infrastructure connecting all of the city offices free of charge. They are also providing a CITY WAN, a City wide internet to promote E-Commerce and Business Incubator. E-Commerce promotions within the city is useless. In today’s day of internet expansion anyone around the world has the ability to compete at a local level in Coral Springs. As we have experienced, businesses in Coral Springs are still reluctant to get actively involved in the internet and try instead to appeal through local hardcopy media (newspapers) for their advertising. Perhaps a local tax rebate to businesses would be better received.
The City getting involved in the development of how local businesses use the internet should also raise some red flags. Government in general likes to control business and personal activity. They can then tax it, saying that they are providing some services just like the water or road system. There are enough private sources out there for E-Commerce and Business incubation (sounds like we are raising chickens) so why is the City getting involved? By forcing this ambitious project on the local cable provider, all that will happen is the provider will increase our subscriber fees to pay for the cost of what the city negotiated. As in any business, no one gets something for nothing. Rather than raising taxes for their ambitious projects, they place the hand of the City in the pockets of Advanced Cable and pull out our money. I call this indirect taxation where the City finds a way to raise the taxes without raising taxes. Am I confusing you or are you finally seeing the light?
The ‘Deal’ is really no great deal at all, and will result in increased cost for all of the citizens that subscribe to Cable TV. That bill will continue to rise, as the City gets free cable TV, free Internet and frees us of our money. However, the “Picture” is crystal clear. The Cable Company and the City Government are partners, splitting up the loot they get from us, on a 95 to 5 basis.