2005 ADOPTED RESOLUTIONS
TRANSPORTATION AND COMMUNICATIONS

LOCAL GOVERNMENT PRINCIPLES FOR COMMUNICATIONS POLICY MODERNIZATION: PROTECTING LOCAL GOVERNMENT INTERESTS

WHEREAS, America’s metropolitan areas, its cities and suburbs, are the engines of our nation’s great economy generating 87% of its economic growth, over $3.8 trillion; and

WHEREAS, metropolitan areas generate over 85% of the nation’s economic output, labor income and jobs; and

WHEREAS, in the global marketplace, U.S. metropolitan areas represent 48 of the world’s 100 largest economies; and

WHEREAS, metropolitan economies need modern communications infrastructure to secure the nation’s future economic growth; and

WHEREAS, localities benefit from, and support, competition and innovation and technology neutrality; and

WHEREAS, America needs an affordable and modern communications infrastructure to ensure the rapid dissemination of new and emerging technologies in which neither economic status nor location should be a barrier for citizens while preserving traditional local communications regulatory and compensation authority; and

WHEREAS, federal communications policies should not undermine the ability of local government to protect the health and welfare of their residents by diminishing local authority to manage public rights-of-way, to zone, or to collect just and fair compensation for the use of public assets; and

WHEREAS, cities have a fundamental responsibility to protect the public health and welfare through the exercise of police powers vested in them by action of their residents or the operation of state law; and

WHEREAS, local government must have access to and use of effective and reliable emergency communications systems; and

WHEREAS, the ability of a government to impose and collect taxes to fund its operations is an essential authority of any government, including local government; and

WHEREAS, local governments should have the ability to provide their local communities with telecommunications facilities and/or services; and

WHEREAS, local governments are the only appropriate jurisdiction to oversee community needs assessments for community media and related public service obligations; and

WHEREAS, local government supports universal service and the nation’s long held communications policy to provide affordable service to all Americans; and

WHEREAS, the United States Conference of Mayors has played a major role in every communications legislative discussion since 1984;

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that The United States Conference of Mayors urges the Administration and Congress to support a balanced federalist approach that encourages new innovation and technology while preserving appropriate authority for local government to protect their citizens, particularly as it relates to public safety and homeland security, promoting local competition and economic development, taxation, universal access, rights-of-way management, and consumer protection; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that The United States Conference of Mayors urges the Administration and Congress to honor local government communications taxing authority and make it clear that localities must retain full communications taxing authority flexibility, as does the federal government, to structure their tax policies in a manner that best serves their citizens; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that The United States Conference of Mayors urges the Administration and Congress to oppose efforts to curb the ability of local officials to collect local communications taxes; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that The United States Conference of Mayors urges the Administration and Congress to oppose actions that have the direct or indirect effect of preempting local government from collecting revenue from wireless services transactions, sales, or other means; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that The United States Conference of Mayors urges the Administration and Congress to include public safety obligations, such as E911 and CALEA, in all communications platforms, regardless of technology; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that The United States Conference of Mayors urges the Administration and Congress to require the FCC to accelerate E911 deployment, including next generation technology and deployment of emergency information and systems; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that The United States Conference of Mayors urges the Administration and Congress to provide sufficient spectrum and funding to obtain interference-free interoperable emergency communications; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that The United States Conference of Mayors urges the Administration and Congress to make spectrum designated for public safety use available by January 1, 2007 and mandate that commercial transmissions will not interfere with public safety communications; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that The United States Conference of Mayors urges the Administration and Congress to preserve and strengthen the ability of state and local government to protect and warn the public through emergency alert systems; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that localities benefit from, and support, competition and innovation and technology neutrality and therefore, The United States Conference of Mayors urges the Administration and Congress to make certain localities retain the authority to ensure nondiscriminatory access to essential facilities, to prevent incumbents from using market power to stifle competition and innovation, and to maintain consumer safeguards when market forces fail; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that industry must respect the rights of local government to act in the best interest of their citizens as the owners/trustees of the local rights-of-way; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that The United States Conference of Mayors urges the Administration and Congress to make clear in federal law that rent and other payments for use of public rights-of-way is not limited to cost reimbursement and compensation based on market value for public rights-of-way is appropriate and legal, including but not limited to, compensation for easements, pole attachments and cell tower sites; and E IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that The United States Conference of Mayors urges the Administration and Congress to reject to grant federal rights in state or local government property, and mandate that localities must grant directly or indirectly access to rights-of-way at belowmarket value prices, and thus deprive localities of their property rights, which violates the Unfunded Mandate Law and the Fifth Amendment prohibition against taking of property; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that The United States Conference of Mayors urges the Administration and Congress to honor the principle that non rental costs, including maintenance, incurred by local governments which result from communications companies’ provision of services that make use of rights-of-way be borne by that company; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that The United States Conference of Mayors urges the Administration and Congress not to preempt or restrict zoning and other local laws or requirements applied in a non-discriminatory and timely manner that regulate or restrict the location, placement, size, appearance, screening or siting of transmission and receiving facilities and any other communications facilities such as satellite dishes, radio towers, broadcast facilities, microwave facilities, equipment housing and similar facilities; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that The United States Conference of Mayors urges the Administration and Congress make clear in federal policy that local government should have the ability to provide their citizens with communications facilities and/or services, including community broadband systems, by prohibiting any legislation that prevents, has the effect of preventing, or in any way impairs the ability of local governments from providing communications facilities and/or services, if a local government determines that it is in the best interest of its community; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that The United States Conference of Mayors urges the Administration and Congress not to preempt local authority to negotiate and grant franchises to video providers regardless of the technology used, and thereby eliminate the ability of localities to address specific local needs, including requirements such as institutional networks, public education and government (PEG) channels; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that The United States Conference of Mayors urges the Administration and Congress to support that cable modem service should be classified as a “cable” service, not as an information service, or otherwise, thereby subjecting the service to oversight, such as requirements to comply with customer service standards, consumer privacy protection, antiredlining requirements and universal buildout and offerings throughout communities; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that The United States Conference of Mayors urges the Administration and Congress to support universal access policies that promote universal and affordable access to communications services including the federal and state universal service funds, the E-Rate program, Lifeline and Linkup, urban and rural infrastructure support mechanisms, and obligations ensuring equitable cable and broadband deployment; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that The United States Conference of Mayors urges the Administration and Congress to support the principle that satellite companies should not be exempt from public interest requirements as public, education and government (PEG) channels; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that The United States Conference of Mayors urges the Administration and Congress to adopt rules and regulations to promote diversity and ensure non-discriminating treatment for local minority leased access programming; and BE IT FUTHER RESOLVED, that The United States Conference of Mayors urges the Administration and Congress to oppose noncompetitive broadcast ownership caps that may facilitate concentrated ownership by a limited number of individuals, work to protect diversity in broadcast ownership, authorize local governments to develop local media solutions and resources that meet their constituents’ need, affirm that local governments are the appropriate jurisdiction to oversee community needs ascertainments for community media and related public service obligations, and The United States Conference of Mayors urges the communications industry to develop tangible franchise or related ownership relations, or otherwise establish genuine business relationships with minority and female-owned businesses; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that The United States Conference of Mayors urges the Administration and Congress to embrace the principle that states and localities are best positioned to effectively respond to a wide variety of consumer concerns regarding communications services, including but not limited to, complaints related to service quality and affordability, reliability, deceptive practices, billing practices, privacy and criminal activity.

©2005 The U.S. Conference of Mayors
Tom Cochran, Executive Director
1620 Eye Street, NW, Washington, DC 20006
Tel. 202.293.7330 ~ Fax 202.293.2352
info@usmayors.org