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Access Tuolumne Proposal And COVID Report On Agenda

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Sonora, CA — A couple of notable items will go before the Tuolumne County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday.

There will be a 9am presentation from the Public Health Department with the latest information on the local response to COVID-19. The county has recently experienced a spike in cases due to the Delta variant.

Later there will be a discussion about potentially increasing the role of Access Tuolumne, the public access television station formerly known as Cable 8.

The non-profit currently receives (PEG) fees paid by local cable subscribers to help operate, but the revenue cannot be used towards salaries. To help Access Tuolumne be sustainable, the supervisors will discuss whether to use 25-percent of the franchise fees the county collects ($135,000) from cable subscribers to better fund the operation. Unlike the PEG fees, the money can go towards salaries. The county’s franchise fees (totaling over $500,000 annually) currently go to the general fund to help services like public safety, library and recreation. The meeting documents note that hiring a full-time Station Manager would cost between $96,000-$116,000 when accounting for salary and benefits. The additional revenue would also go towards Access Tuolumne’s part-time salaries and needed supplies.

In return, the county would receive 500 hours of videography services for its meetings (It currently pays Access Tuolumne $20,000 annually to record and air the supervisor and planning commission meetings). The county would also receive 240 hours per year worth of informational and public relations messaging on the channel. In addition, there would be some off-site event coverage provided. The meeting document related to the proposal can be found here.  

Tuesday’s board meeting starts at 9am. It is open to the public. Face coverings are required for all in attendance.

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