BT People

Davidson will try to exit contract with Continuum

Jan. 24. By Dave Vieser. With a new mayor in town, Davidson plans to look for a quick exit strategy from the Continuum/Mi Connection purchase agreement. The $80 million purchase, spread between Davidson and Mooresville, was inked in 2007 to take over a piece of the bankrupt Adelphia system. Thus far, it has cost Davidson almost $10 million.

Mayor Rusty Knox

“The debt service that we pay is a huge financial burden for our town,” said Davidson Mayor Rusty Knox. “It represents about 9.5 percent of our total annual budget. If we didn’t have that yearly expense, projects such as expanding Town Hall, which is badly needed, would be a no brainer.”

Under the terms of the agreement, the cable company serves approximately 17,000 cusvtomers in three towns: Mooresville, Davidson and Cornelius. Mooresville and Davidson make annual debt service payments while Cornelius chose not to participate in the purchase a decade ago.

Mooresville, which has thus far paid $28.3 million in debt service, actually signed the borrowing note in 2007 so “they would have to come to the table with us to work out a possible plan,” Knox said. He plans to reach out to Mooresville officials in the New Year to review possible options. Mooresville Mayor Miles Atkins said he would “welcome the opportunity” to talk to Davidson officials.”

It is difficult for me to predict the outcome…but the towns have always worked well together pursuant to our interlocal agreement.”Some of the incumbent commissioners who lost the election in November had urged the town and its residents to continue to support the cable company until it makes money over and above debt service, perhaps in three to five years. Knox didn’t buy that approach and apparently neither did the voters​: Four out of five incumbents lost. (Knox won the Mayor’s post with nearly 57 percent of the votes, compared to 26 percent for incumbent John Woods. Woods was mayor from December of 2007 to December of 2017.

“Many people are now dropping cable TV in favor of streaming,” Knox said. “A significant number are also doing away with home phones. If we maintain the status quo, the town will actually be put in a losing position down the road, holding the bag on a company which could be falling behind in a rapidly changing industry.”

For their part, Continuum officials say they are continuously working hard to improve the product currently used by their subscribers in the three-​town service area.

Mayor Miles Atkins

Continuum’s Marketing Director Ellen Baker says the company emphasizes three basic service elements:  “We are local, reliable and our focus is on customer care.”

“The new name we recently adopted also represents the many advances we’ve made since our origination in 2007 such as faster internet speeds, new technologies like TV Anywhere and our Continuum Whole Home DVR,” she says.

However, Knox seems intent on getting the town out of the agreement. “During the campaign I spoke with a number of residents who expressed interest in serving on a steering committee, something which we will certainly consider. Also, one of our new Commissioners, Matthew Fort, has an extensive background in finance and has offered his assistance as well.”

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