Charter Communications to pay $286,000 to county in franchise fees settlement

Charter Communications will pay the county $286,000 to settle legal action that arose when a county audit showed the cable provider came up short in its payment on franchise fees over the past five years.

The settlement is not likely to affect Charter’s customers, according to Assistant Auditor-Controller Jim Erb, who was involved in both the audit and the negotiations with Charter.

Erb told The Tribune that his audit turned up people who lived in unincorporated areas on the edge of cities who had in-city zip codes. Because of the zip codes, fees went erroneously to the cities rather than the county, which governs all county areas outside city limits.

There were roughly 900 such addresses, mostly just outside the Arroyo Grande and San Luis Obispo city limits, Erb said.

County Counsel Warren Jensen announced the settlement Tuesday, after a closed-door meeting of the Board of Supervisors.

Jensen pointed out that “the settlement agreement expressly provides that ‘nothing [in the settlement agreement] shall be deemed to be an admission of liability by Charter.”