ST. FRANCISVILLE — The Board of Aldermen on Tuesday passed an ordinance addressing cable TV providers that adopts a uniform franchise fee schedule, allows for audits, and clarifies a dispute resolution process between the town and the cable company.

“We’ve needed this for a long time, and this ordinance will protect the subscribers in town and what the town is properly entitled to as far as franchise fees go,” Mayor Billy D’Aquilla said. “I believe it does that and will allow us to audit a company’s books to make sure they’re paying what they owe.”

The board has had a lingering issue with Bailey Cable and its owner, David Bailey, who has not signed a new franchise agreement with the town since the previous one expired more than a year ago. The issue has dragged on for several months despite repeated attempts to get Bailey to resolve it. The board also has authorized an audit of Bailey Cable’s books to make sure any outstanding money owed will be paid.

Under the new law, the franchise fee is set at 5 percent of a provider’s gross revenues received from subscribers within town limits. The ordinance also includes advertising revenue generated through the cable service.

Franchisees must pay the town quarterly, within 45 days of the preceding quarter. After a written request, the town also can review the business records of the cable providers to ensure payments are being properly made.

In other matters:

  • Rain delays have forced the Burnett Road bridge reconstruction project to add 24 more days to its schedule, meaning it likely won’t be completed until September.
  • The water well on Prosperity Street is nearly completed and power should be restored Aug. 11, said consulting engineer Bianca Hillhouse, of Professional Engineering Consultants. 
  • The town commissioned Landsource Inc. to conduct a survey as part of the southern gateway landscaping enhancement to the town from the intersection of Commerce Street and U.S. 61 southward.
  • Attorney Jesse Means read a resolution welcoming the American Duchess Riverboat, which will dock in St. Francisville for the first time on Aug. 16. A brief inaugural port ceremony will take place at 11 a.m. The American Duchess is an all-suite paddleboat capable of carrying up to 166 passengers.