As controversy continues over transparency issues at URTV, the Buncombe County Board of Commissioners is set to step in. At its Feb. 3 meeting, the board will consider amending the county’s operating agreement with the public-access channel to require it to follow the state’s open-meetings law.
The city of Asheville, which, like Buncombe County, also allocates money known as PEG funds — generated by a fee paid by all cable subscribers — to the channel, passed a similar amendment to their management agreement in early 2007. However, criticism has recently arisen over a confidentiality clause in an oath required for URTV board members and remarks made by Executive Director Pat Garlinghouse at the board’s last meeting. A North Carolina Press Association attorney has asserted that those comments misrepresented open-meetings law. A release from URTV last week said that the channel has always followed open-meetings law and will revise the oath.
The matter is on the commissioners’ consent agenda and so it may be approved en masse with other matters the board regards as routine, unless a commissioner chooses to pull the resolution and vote on it separately.
Also on the agenda are a possible $45,000 economic-development incentive to manufacturer Plasticard-Locktech International and an agreement with Asheville to allocate federal grant funds to help transport for the disabled.
The meeting begins at 4:30 p.m., Tuesday, Feb. 3, in room 204 of the Buncombe County Courthouse, with an open public-comment period at the end. A pre-meeting work session begins at 4 p.m.
— David Forbes, staff writer