Will Southampton Town residents soon be able to catch up on Sag Harbor government news by flipping the television to channel 22?
While that remains to be seen, on Tuesday Sag Harbor Mayor Greg Ferraris did say the board was considering funding SEA-TV to the tune of approximately $5,700, although the board was still awaiting a final dollar amount. Ferraris said while it was not something they had planned on, the board would likely accommodate a request for funding and hopes for more Sag Harbor programming on the Southampton Town station.
“We would like someone in the village to be more involved in programming,” he said. The goal would be to ensure that coverage of Sag Harbor on SEA-TV was enhanced through village representation.
Initially, the board was opposed to funding SEA-TV with additional monies as the channel, which offers government and education coverage through the Town of Southampton, does not currently cover village meetings. Board members also believed village residents already contributed to the programming through their town tax dollars.
But according to Bruce Nalepinski, executive director of SEA-TV and Richard Blowes, the town’s business manager — both who approached the board during their July 8 meeting — the station is not funded through tax dollars, but rather through a Cablevision franchise tax. The franchise tax, said Nalepinski, is no longer covering the total costs of running the station.
In response, Nalepinski sent letters to all villages in the Town of Southampton, breaking down the monies needed for the station by population — each village ideally covering a percentage of the cost.Â
SEA-TV, explained Nalepinski, is currently operating $40,000 to $50,000 over budget, although based on population the village would be asked to contribute roughly $5,700. Village residents, added Blowes, currently do not pay anything to finance SEA-TV, despite the fact that those in Southampton Town can view town meetings and other programming on their televisions. East Hampton residents can tune in through their computers.
Blowes said it was the town’s hope to be able to expand the station and therefore broaden the coverage in villages like Sag Harbor. The board was also informed that while the village has yet to have government meetings broadcast on its channel, the school district has taken advantage of SEA-TV. The station has broadcast special events from the school.
“I guess there is no proposal to cover village board meetings,” asked trustee Tiffany Scarlato.
“It’s absolutely possible,” said Nalepinski.Â