WADSWORTH — City Council approved legislation Wednesday that equalizes what city and township residents pay for city-owned CityLink cable and internet services.
“I think now is the right time to do it because of the competition (Time Warner and Spectrum) that we are facing,” Service Director Robert Patrick said immediately following the council meeting.
Using basic cable as an example, the monthly rate has been $21.60 for subscribers within the city and $23.75 for Wadsworth Township residents, according to data provided by Patrick. The new rate, effective in October, would be $25 across the board.
Patrick said increased rates are a result of higher fees CityLink has to pay to offer specific television networks such as ABC, FOX and ESPN to its customers.
“Every year our rates go up from (the networks) to be able to provide those channels,” Patrick said. “So that is really what we need to pass on so we can stay solvent and we can continue to provide the great services that we do.”
“Most of the cable costs, of course, we try to contain as much as possible, and anytime the rates are increased it is strictly due to all the outside, the contracts that we have to have with all the companies,” At-large Councilman Tom Stugmyer said after the meeting.
Patrick said past efforts to avoid rate increases caused CityLink to fall behind financially.
“Last year when we came to (council), we only did about 50 percent of what we needed for an increase because we were hoping some of our negotiations at the end of the year would be a little better than they were,” Patrick said. “Also, we just didn’t want to have a very severe increase to our customers.”
The result was a deficit for the city-owned service company, he said.
Patrick said Wadsworth is one of two cities in Northeast Ohio to offer cable and internet services, and has done so for more than 20 years.
“We really are a competitor out there and providing a high-quality service at a reasonable price,” he said.
Ward 1 Councilman Ralph Copley was the lone council member to vote against the legislation.
Copley said following the meeting he requested — and didn’t receive — additional information about why city residents would see steeper increases to put them and township residents on an even playing field.
“I was forced to vote no, because it is my duty to represent the residents, not the nonresidents.”
Also Wednesday, council approved moving its meeting time from 7:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. the first and third Tuesdays of each month at city hall, 120 Maple St.