JCTV escapes termination

Despite anticipation of a rough budgeting year ahead, the Jefferson City Council has opted not to terminate the city’s contract with JCTV.

At the City Council meeting Monday, a resolution to notify Lincoln University of the city’s intent to terminate the contract for JCTV was defeated by a vote of 6-4. Second Ward Councilman Shawn Schulte, 3rd Ward Councilman Bob Scrivner, 3rd Ward Councilman Bryan Pope and 4th Ward Councilman Bill Luebbert voted in favor of terminating the contract.

Given the city’s $1.68 million shortfall, Schulte said he wanted to be clear and fair with Lincoln University and JCTV as to the future of the station.

“Are we going to fund JCTV or not,” Schulte said. “We need to make a decision.”

But 4th Ward Councilwoman Carrie Carroll said it’s not about money right now, but about a more correct process. She said the city needs to meet with Lincoln University and JCTV to have a full discussion on the issue first and ensure such a decision doesn’t affect the city’s relationship with the university.

“I just think it can be done in a more tactful manner,” Carroll said. “I just don’t like the manner it’s being done.”

Pope said voting on the resolution wasn’t about being for or against public access television, but about allowing for the possibility of new opportunities.

“This is not a new issue that we have not gotten what we thought we should from this contract,” Pope said. “A future council can decide to put public access television out for bid if they so chose to … we might be able to bring additional technology to the table.”

In September, the council approved $110,000 in funding for JCTV - a $55,000 cut to its normal budget. That was meant to keep the station operating through June 2013 and enable Lincoln University to discuss whether it will fund the station at some level before the university’s fiscal year starts July 1.

In October, City Administrator Nathan Nickolaus told members of the JCTV steering committee that the City Council would need to see a financial show of support for the station from the community and Lincoln University or the city would terminate its contract with JCTV in March.

Station Manager Gloria Enloe said the station has raised $6,000 in the last four months.

Since the termination notice failed to move forward, the council approved a previously introduced bill that authorizes an amendment to the agreement with Lincoln to reflect the lowered amount of funding, though the university has to agree to alter the contract as well.

If they hadn’t passed the bill, the city would have been obligated to pay out the remaining $55,000 as promised in the original contract.

In other business, the council also approved two bills to place two charter amendments on the April 2014 ballot. One would place a charter amendment on the ballot to allow for elections in February, while the other would place a charter amendment on the ballot to eliminate the need for a primary election.

State law took away February primary dates, except in cases where a charter city specifically required a February election in the city charter. Because Jefferson City’s charter does not specifically require a February primary, only that a primary election must take place, the council set the primary for March.

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