HMU cable, phone rates to increase Feb. 1

    HARLAN -- The Harlan Municipal Board of Trustees voted Dec. 27 to hike rates for HMU cable and phone effective Feb. 1, 2019.
     Basic cable will go up $3 to $33.99 per month with expanded basic going up $6 to $91.99. Digital basic increases $1 per month to $13.99.
      The top totally connected package (phone, cable, internet) went up $7 to $179.99.
      HMU Director of Communications Jim Gedwillo told the board the bulk of the increase is due to video content contract increases.  He said that the bulk is to cover local broadcast retransmissions and satellite programmers.
       He also briefed the board on the Stingray music channels that will replace DMX music on the cable system.   He said DMX has been on the cable system since the late 1990’s and was scheduled to go off the air January 1.  Stingray is a positive addition, he added, with 18 new music channels (50 categories) while actually being a little less cost than DMX.
Phone rate hike
       Phone rates will increase $1.55 on the basic residential charge (to be $12/month) and $2 per month on businesses (new rate of $18/month).
     Gedwillo said the phone rates had been in place since 2004, and since then a new phone switch has been added and operational support fees have gone up.
    “We (HMU) have done well to keep rates down since then, but we need extra revenue to help offset operational support fees we currently have,” Gedwillo said.
Seivert is board chair
     Nella Seivert was elected chairperson of the board and Terry Arentson will serve as vice-chair effective Jan. 1.  Committee assignments were also approved at the Dec. 27 meeting.     Additional HMU board members are Randall Rees, David Tyrrel and Connie Wees.

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