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City could have additional cable provider

If all the details play out, West Fargo could have an additional cable service provider.

West Fargo City Commissioners approved a resolution of intention Monday night to grant Midcontinent Communications a cable television franchise. The Sioux Falls based company had submitted an application to the City requesting to operate a cable franchise within the city limits of West Fargo. A public hearing will take place on the matter at 5:45 p.m., July 2, which will allow anyone with an interest in, or an objection to the request to be able to voice their comments.

Midcontinent presently operates under a limited cable franchise agreement with the City, serving a residential area south of town that had been annexed into West Fargo. Last year they appeared before the Commission asking to be allowed to continue that service. That request was approved. This year they extended their request to include the whole City. Cable One is presently the only other cable franchise provider.

City Attorney Brian Neugebauer said the City had drafted a new franchise agreement with Midcontinent identical to the existing agreement with Cable One. "We can't treat them (Midcontinent) any differently. It is the same dollar amount and all terms are identical," Neugebauer said. The agreement would give them until the end of 2008 to initially extend cable television services to the entire City.

Neugebauer said he didn't see any issues with the request. "Competition is always good. Any city in the world would rather have two (cable systems) than one. We see no downsides."

In other action, the Commission:

-approved a five year remodeling exemption for Jeff Mickelson at 320 2nd St. E., who had done a total renovation on his home, increasing the value from $37,200 to $77,300, with the exemption saving him approximately $1,500 per year in property taxes;

-favored a letter of support for Region V Community Development Corporation on approval of a 30-unit senior townhouse style rental housing development at 205 14th Ave. E. in West Fargo. The letter of recommendation is needed to submit to the state for tax credits;

-okayed a minor planned unit development modification for Spitfire Grill, formerly Unos, required because of their recent remodeling project;

-approved a conditional use permit for Agricultural Services seasonal use on property north of Goldenwood.

The next regularly scheduled meeting of the West Fargo City Commission will take place at 5:30 p.m., Monday, July 2, in the Commission Chambers at West Fargo City Hall. All meetings are open to the public.