By Sarah Richardson
At the regularly scheduled Lewisburg City Council meeting on June 15, the second to be held in-person since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, the city passed the second reading of the Crown Act, passed the first reading of the Suddenlink/Altice franchise renewal, and said farewell to several councilmembers who did not seek re-election.
Councilmembers Mark Etten, Joshua Edwards, and Heather Blake did not run for re-election, and City Recorder Shannon Beatty made the transition to City Clerk.
Mayor Beverly White read unique poems and presented each member with a plaque honoring their years of service. Etten served for 17 years, Edwards for two, and Blake for eight. Newly-elected councilmembers Valerie Pritt, Franklin Johnson, and John Little will join members Arron Seams and Sarah Elkins at the next meeting.
In other news:
~The city voted to approve the first reading of the Suddenlink franchise renewal, which is an agreement that Suddenlink will continue to provide services to the Lewisburg area. The contract does allow for competitors to operate, with the city having the option to change providers if they so wish. The lack of other internet providers in the area was a driving decision behind many councilmember’s votes on the subject. Due to the non-exclusivity of the contract, it does leave options open for the city if another service provider steps up.
“If another contractor comes in, the city can just jump ship,” said Elkins. “We don’t have to stay.”
Councilmembers discussed breaks in service, fuzzy reception, dead zones, long phone wait times with customer service, and 3-5 day service call wait times as all negative factors with the current Suddenlink coverage.
While the city isn’t completely pleased with the level of service in the area, they negotiated the previously 10-year contract down to 5-years to allow for even more flexibility.
“We owe it to the city of Lewisburg to make sure they do at least have Suddenlink as an option,” said councilmember Edwards.
They discussed their concerns with a Suddenlink representative at the meeting, and plan to address Suddenlink’s response before the second reading is held.
~ The city passed the second reading of the Crown Act, which prohibits discrimination based on certain hair texture and styles such as braids, five locks, and twists, as well as discrimination based on hair textures and protective hairstyles historically associated with a particular race.