UMass is a city unto itself, but they still reside in Amherst
The Cable Advisory Committee voted unanimously on Monday to request Interim Town Manager Dave Ziomek issue UMass a public documents request to ascertain details of a cable contract with Charter Communications that could violate federal law because the Amherst Select Board, who has authority in these matters, never issued them a cable franchise.
The CAC is currently working diligently on the renewal of the current ten-year cable contract with Comcast which does require Select Board approval. Currently Amherst has over 7,000 subscribers who contribute about $6 million total per year to Comcast.
As part of their franchise fee Comcast gives up 5% of their annual cable revenues to Amherst Media, around $300,000, as well as a once every ten year capital sum for new equipment, which amounted to $450,000 in the last contract.
Comcast quarterly income report
Since these contract matters are FCC related that kind of makes the Select Board agents of a federal authority. Thus the usual excuse UMass uses for ignoring town ordinances and/or bylaws may not hold up, since a federal entity trumps a state one.
UMass recently told the town to go fly a kite (or drone) regarding the 6% local hotel/motel tax applying to the Campus Center Hotel.
Currently they are holding $200,000 in escrow attempting to strong arm the town into signing a multi-year "Strategic Partnership" for Payment In Lieu Of Taxes to help fund all the services provided to on-campus students by Amherst Fire Department.