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Utica Mayor reconsiders city charter agreement with Time Warner

By JOLEEN FERRIS

UTICA, N.Y. (WKTV) - Utica Mayor David Roefaro says constituents call his office daily, upset and confused by the substitution of news out of Pennsylvania for their local news.

Their calls have prompted the mayor to urge WKTV owner Smith Media and Time Warner to resume efforts to reach an agreement on the fair value of the programming WKTV provides in the Utica market every day; an agreement which would allow local, WKTV programming to return to the market.

Roefaro also pointed out that Time Warner's franchise agreement with the city is up, and that renewal of the agreement is not a given.

"Unless I can assure my residents that they will receive their local news and not Pennsylvania's, I'm going to be in contact with other signal providers," says the mayor.

The mayor says the absence of local news is bad enough, but that the presence of 'local' news from Scranton-Wilkes Barre, Pennsylvania is downright confusing to local Time Warner Cable subscribers.

"My uncle asked me about a flood that was happening in the city. We had no flood. It was about Pennsylvania having a flood. This is very confusing to our residents."

The mayor, New York State Senator Joe Griffo and Assemblywoman Roann Destito have written a letter to the Federal Communications Commission, asking them to intervene and bring back local programming to the Utica market.

"We get calls every day from our residents and I sympathize with them," Mayor Roefaro said. "I still go and turn on the news by accident."

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