DERRY — One town councilor would like to see lower cable television rates for the town’s senior citizens.
“I’ve met with a few senior citizens in the town who have concerns about Comcast,” said Councilor Phyllis Katsakiores. “There are several towns in the state that get a discount, and Derry doesn’t.”
Katsakiores said she called Comcast’s legislative administrator to find out why the seniors in Derry don’t get a discount.
“They said that when you sign the contract, that’s when it should come up, but that Derry has not approved it,” she said.
According to Comcast, the funds that allow for the senior citizen discounts come from the franchise fees the cable company pays back to the town.
Katsakiores said she wanted to know if a senior discount was ever discussed between the town and Comcast in cable negotiations.
“When we signed the contract, that was not a provision that was put into the contract, but it is certainly something that can be put on the list for when we renew the contract,” Town Administrator John Anderson said. “It would essentially lower the amount of the franchise fees to the community to subsidize the senior citizens who get a discount.”
The current contract between the town and Comcast runs through 2019.
Council Chairman Brad Benson said the town could analyze what it would cost the town in franchise fees to provide the senior citizen discounts.
The franchise fees from Comcast subsidize the operation of the town’s three local access television stations.
During the recent discussions for the fiscal year 2013 budget, town councilors agreed to hold a workshop in the near future on the town’s franchise fees and the future operation of Derry Community Television (DCTV).
In the original DCTV budget proposal for next year, there was a request to increase a part-time position to a full-time one.
Although that request was removed from the budget, Benson noted that the increase in staffing could take place after the new fiscal year starts on July 1 because it would be paid for from the Comcast franchise fees and would not affect the town’s tax rate.