Port Townsend city manager suggests PTTV become a nonprofit corporation

PORT TOWNSEND — City Manager David Timmons has proposed that Port Townsend’s public TV station become a nonprofit corporation, while the city broadcasts its meetings on the Internet.

Timmons attended the Public, Education, Government Access Board’s meeting this week to explain his proposal, and dispel growing concerns expressed by station directors that city officials want to sever their relationship with the public access station, cable channels 47 and 48.

Some PTTV producers on Tuesday voiced enthusiasm for Timmons’ recommendations.

“I had a great meeting with David earlier and I think this proposal has some merit,” said PTTV station manager Gary Lemons.

Lemons’ response was echoed by another PEG board member, Port Townsend City Councilman Geoff Masci.

“Dave’s idea is a good idea,” said Masci.

Shielded from liability

Timmons pointed out that by becoming a nonprofit corporation, the PEG board would acquire greater autonomy, and the city is shielded from liability for the station’s content.

“The nonprofit model is one followed by a number of cities for public access television, and is a model recommended in a draft report from Gary Lemons,” Timmons states in a memo to the board, which he distributed at the meeting.

Several other Public, Education, Government Access board members responded with caution.

“There are some definite benefits to a nonprofit structure,” said Mark Welch, a board member who helped found the station in the late 1990s, “but we are also responsible to education and to the public.

“Is a nonprofit structure what we really want to pursue right now? This proposal is something that we need to consider very closely and carefully.”

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