The following letter was sent to WTVI CEO Elsie Garner by County Manager Harry Jones on April 4, 2007 discussing the FY08 budget process as relates to funding for WTVI.
Staff analysis of the County's funding relationship with WTVI is attached.
Ms. Elsie Garner
President and CEO
3242 Commonwealth Avenue
Charlotte, NC 28205
I am writing to let you know how I intend to approach funding recommendations for next year regarding WTVI. As you recall, in a February 19 meeting with you and members of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Public Broadcasting Authority (CMPBA), I asked that WTVI consider new ideas and models for Mecklenburg County's continued investment in WTVI. This request was based on my assessment that the proposal provided by WTVI did not satisfy the Board of County Commissioners' desire for a long-term plan and new business model that maximizes the value of a publicly owned television station.
Because we have not heard from you since that meeting, and given the timing for preparing a budget, I intend to base my recommendations on the current Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the County and WTVI. This MOU includes consideration of County funding for debt service, capital reserve, equipment maintenance, and services purchased from WTVI by the County's Public Service & Information Department. In addition, the County has provided direct services to WTVI for buildings and grounds maintenance and security.
At this time, I have not determined the amount of funding I will recommend for any of these aspects of the MOU, although the debt service amount will be definitively determined by the payments required from the financing arrangement in place. I will provide the County Manager's Recommended FY2007-2008 Budget to the Board of County Commissioners in May.
I continue to urge you to consider new and innovative models for WTVI, if there is continued interest by the CMPBA in maintaining a long-term relationship with Mecklenburg County. Some ideas have been suggested in the attached analysis conducted by County staff. However, I'm certain there are others that also could be viable options for consideration.
I look forward to hearing from you at your earliest convenience.
Harry L. Jones, Sr.
cc: Board of County Commissioners
John McGillicuddy, General Manager
Leslie Johnson, Planning and Evaluation Director