PALERMO — Selectmen have approved a new cable television ordinance that increases the likelihood of getting cable service in town.

Board members unanimously adopted the ordinance at Thursday’s meeting. They can now begin negotiating a franchise agreement with a cable company.

So far, discussion has only been with Time Warner representative Michael Edgecomb.

Board members will review copies of a standard Time Warner franchise agreement before their next meeting.

Board Chairman Harry Dean Potter said if an agreement is signed, Time Warner — or possibly another company — will decide whether offering cable service in town would be profitable.

Edgecomb told selectmen earlier this year that the company will provide cable only to relatively densely populated areas. The usual standard is at least 25 houses per mile, though Edgecomb said that’s flexible.

The new ordinance replaces one adopted at Town Meeting in the 1990s that required any cable company that came to town to agree to provide it anyone in town who asked within three years. That ordinance has kept the town from having cable.

Potter said state law provides for municipal officials, not voters, to adopt cable ordinances. Some residents have told selectmen they were concerned about the board’s right to overturn that Town Meeting decision.

Potter said Thursday if the public library is outside an area designated for cable service, Edgecomb said grants might be available to extend cable to the library.

Six residents attended the 15-minute hearing and stayed to hear selectmen approve the ordinance.

Resident Richard Reitchel asked selectmen last year to act, primarily to speed Internet communication so that residents can use the Web to work from home.

Also Thursday, selectmen encouraged Palermo Days planning committee Chairman Pat Clark to go ahead with a fundraising letter and requests for parade participants after Clark told the board a lack of volunteer help for the family fun night, parade and fireworks may force the event to be canceled.

Selectman Holly Harmon also volunteered to join the committee.

In other business Thursday:

* Selectmen appointed Reitchel as Planning Board alternate to replace Tim Turner, who did not want to serve another term.

* They appointed three fire department officers elected by the department: Michael York as chief, Josh Webb as first assistant chief and Douglas Robinson as second assistant chief.

* They were told there are some town positions open after Michael Tesseo declined another term as representative on the TriCounty Solid Waste board and Elden Glidden has told town officials he would like to step down as civil emergency preparedness director. Palermo also lacks a health officer.

* Reitchel, as vice-president of Palermo Youth Activities, asked selectmen to consider donating a tax-acquired parcel beside the ball fields to the organization. Board members scheduled a May 3 public hearing and tentatively planned a June vote to let voters act on the request.


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