[HISTORY: Adopted 7-25-2011 by Ord. No. 11-10. Amendments noted where applicable.]
It is the policy of the State of Maine and the Town, with respect to cable television:
To affirm the importance of municipal control of franchising and regulation in order to ensure that the needs and interest of local citizens are adequately met;
That the Town, when acting to displace competition with regulation in the area of cable television, proceed according to the judgment of the municipal officers as to the type and degree of regulatory activity considered to be in the best interest of its citizens;
To provide adequate statutory and ordinance authority to the Town to make franchising and regulatory decisions to implement this policy and to avoid the cost and uncertainty of lawsuits challenging that authority; and
That the Town's municipal officers must enact an ordinance governing cable franchising and regulation of cable television systems using public ways before granting any franchise(s).
Public hearing. Any public hearing pertaining to activities of the franchisee and the Town, unless otherwise provided in this title, must be held on seven days' written and publicly advertised notice, at which time the franchisee and the public are to be given an opportunity to be heard.
General authority. No person, firm or corporation may construct, install, maintain or operate within the Town a cable system unless a franchise agreement has first been obtained pursuant to the provisions of this title and unless said franchise agreement is in full force and effect. The provisions of this title and any franchise agreement executed in accordance with this title are to be liberally construed in favor of the Town and its cable subscribers in order to effectuate their purposes and objectives and to promote the public interest. Any franchise agreement is governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of the State of Maine, federal regulations and laws, and ordinances of the Town.
Grant of renewal franchise. Pursuant to the authority of 30-A M.R.S. §§ 3001 through 3010, and subject to the terms and conditions set forth herein, and the franchise agreement, the Town Council, in its statutory role as the issuing authority of the Town, may grant a nonexclusive, revocable cable television agreement to any cable operator or its successors for the purposes of constructing, installing, upgrading, operating, and maintaining a cable system within the Town.
Rights to contract. The Town Council may approve a contract on such terms, conditions, and fees as are in the best interest of the Town and its residents with one or more cable operators for the operation of a cable system within the Town, including the granting of nonexclusive franchise agreement(s) for the construction, installation, upgrading, maintenance and operation thereof.
Public inspection. The franchise agreement application(s), including renewal applications, and any submittals in response to a request for proposals or solicitation of bids and related documents, are public records. Upon the filing of such documents, the Town must provide reasonable notice to the public that such documents are open to public inspection during reasonable business hours.
Conditions. Any franchise agreement between the Town and the cable operator is to be substantively based on the Maine Model Agreement, dated October 30, 2009, or any successor model/revision.
Right to grant additional franchises. A franchise agreement is nonexclusive and will not explicitly or implicitly preclude the issuance of other franchises to operate cable systems within the Town. The Town expressly reserves the right to grant other such franchise agreements in the Town on such terms as it deems appropriate and to operate a Town-owned cable system. No privilege or power of eminent domain is bestowed upon the franchisee by the granting of a franchise.
Exercise of police and regulatory power. All rights and privileges granted in any franchise agreement are subject to the police power of the Town to adopt and enforce local laws, ordinances, bylaws, rules and regulations necessary to the health, safely and general welfare of the public. Expressly reserved to the Town is the right to adopt, in addition to the provisions of any franchise agreement, this title and any other existing laws, ordinances and regulations (collectively "laws"), such additional laws as it may find necessary in the exercise of its police power. Any conflict between the terms of any franchise agreement and any present or future exercise of the Town's police and regulatory powers must be resolved in favor of the Town's police and regulatory powers.
Use of public ways. The right to use and occupy the street and public ways and public places granted in any franchise agreement is not exclusive, and the Town reserves the right to grant similar or other uses of the said streets, public ways and public places to any person at any time during the term of any franchise agreement.
Conflict with public works. The rights and privileges granted to the franchisee in any franchise agreement must not be in preference or hindrance to the right of the Town or any other governmental agency, improvement district or other authority having jurisdiction, to perform or carry on any public works or public improvements. Should the franchisee's cable system in any way interfere with the construction, maintenance or repair of such public works or improvements, the franchisee must, at its own expense, protect or relocate its cable system or part thereof, as directed by the Town or other authority having jurisdiction.
Removal and relocation. The Town has the power at any time to order and require the franchisee to remove or relocate any pole, wire, cable or other structure, machinery or equipment located within a public way that is dangerous to life or property. In the event that the franchisee, after notice, fails or refuses to act within a reasonable time, the Town has the power to remove or relocate the same at the sole cost and expense of the franchisee.
Acts at grantee's expense. Any act that the franchisee is or may be required to perform under this title, a franchise agreement, or applicable laws is performed at the franchisee's expense, unless expressly provided to the contrary in this title, the franchise agreement, or applicable laws.
Neither the provisions of this section, nor any bonds accepted by the Town pursuant hereto, nor any damages recovered by the Town thereunder, may be construed to excuse unfaithful performance by the franchisee or limit the liability of the franchisee under this title or the franchise agreement for damages, either to the full amount of the bond or otherwise.