I hope that despite the heat, everyone’s summer is going well. Council has been in recess for the month of July, so it has been quiet in the area of council action, but my phone continues to ring on a couple of issues. One of those is the rate increases that TCI Cable imposed lately, or more appropriately, why a rate increase was allowed by City Council.

First, let me address the areas that the City Council does have some say over in cable rate request. Only the basic service, additional outlet, remote control, converter box, and service charges are rates regulated by the City. Your expanded basic service is regulated by the FCC, yet the premium channels and pay-per-view are not regulated by any governmental agency.

In March of 1995, TCI requested a rate increase that was in excess of what the City felt was reasonable, given the formula for a fair return. Here is where the problem lies. This formula starts with the costs of the assets they have put into the system. The City figures this as the amount originally put in and any additions. TCI figures are based on the value they paid when they purchased the system for the previous operator. The City appealed this decision to the FCC and lost. Therefore, we lost.

So, in short, if you add the rates the city does control, you will find that there is very little difference or possibly a decrease. However, if you have expanded basic and premium channels, you have a sizable increase. The bottom line is the City did what it could, where it could, but the Federal Communications Commission ruled in favor of TCI.

Another area of continued concern is crime. Although we continue to see our crime numbers down year to date, we seem to be loosing ground. Overall crime in District 10 is down 8.1 percent through June. However, through May it was down 12.28 percent. The areas that seem to be loosing ground are aggravated assault, residential burglary, burglary motor vehicle, theft and auto theft.

The good news is murder, rape, business robbery and individual robbery continue to show improvement. The best answer to turn this all in our favor is our local crime watches. The more we pay attention to what is going on around us, the greater the impact we can enjoy. Keep those garage doors closed and report suspicious activity to the police. Also, if you don’t belong to your crime watch, join today! There is strength in numbers and the proof continues to be lower crime numbers in areas with strong crime watches. If you don’t have a crime watch, start one. If you need help with how to start a crime watch in your neighborhood, you can call the Northeast Sub-Station or my office and we will get you pointed in the right direction.

There will be a Town Hall meeting on the budget and another neighborhood meeting to discuss the plans for the Buckner, Audelia and Northwest Highway intersection in mid-August.

Watch your mailboxes for notices with the times and locations of the meetings. If you are not on our mailing list, contact my office and we will put you on it.

I send a special congratulation to all of our high school graduates, whether you are going on to college or off to work. Best of luck to you all. Remember if you have questions or concerns, don’t hesitate to give me a call at 670-4068.