Tacoma council approves Click rate hike

Tacoma News TribuneMay 20, 2014 

Rates for Click Cable TV will rise in July after the Tacoma City Council approved an average 10 percent rate hike Tuesday.

The rate increase is expected to raise about $722,000 to help cover a projected $1.3 million shortfall in Click’s 2013-2014 budget. The remaining amount will come from the Tacoma Power budget.

Councilman Ryan Mello said Tuesday that it wouldn’t be fair to make Tacoma Power — and its ratepayers — shoulder the entire Click shortfall.

The council approved the increase on a 7-0 vote. Councilman Robert Thoms and Mayor Marilyn Strickland were out of town.

The move means customers will see an increase on Click’s most popular, 88-channel package from $48.29 to $52.99 per month — the same price as a similar package offered by Comcast within Click’s service area.

This is the sixth rate increase since 2010, when Click charged $36 a month for its standard package.

While its rates continue to climb, Click’s existence keeps cable prices inside the city low, said Councilman Joe Lonergan. Outside of the Click service area, Comcast’s rates are 31 percent higher, or $69.49 per month, for a package comparable to Click’s standard service, according to a city staff memo.

“We can look and prove this has a dampening effect on rates,” Lonergan said. “For cable customers who are Click customers, or who are customers of the competitor.”

Paul Ferguson, a retired U.S. Navy and U.S. Air Force member who has been a Click customer since 2008, said Monday that he plans to consider cutting channels to help avoid paying more.

When he heard of the rate increase, “It made me angry, but those aren’t the words I’d like to say. … People don’t realize we can only watch one or two channels at a time.”

Rates are on the rise because content providers — such as ESPN, History Channel and even local broadcasters — are charging more money for their content, Click officials say.

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