Salmon, Challis and Leadore will be going back on the air. The Joint Finance-Appropriations Committee today set a budget for Idaho Public Television that matches the governor’s recommendation with two additions: It included funding for half the cost of Legislative Live personnel, which broadcasts legislative proceedings, at $116,500; and additional funds to replace $34,000 worth of failed, 22-year-old equipment that has knocked service to the communities of Challis, Salmon and Leadore off the air. The lost signal there also took out the feed to local cable companies. The budget also includes another $50,000 to replace other old equipment to prevent similar outages elsewhere.
Rep. Shirley Ringo, D-Moscow, said the request for that replacement was $100,000; her motion included half of that. “There’s $84,000 to take care of totally dead equipment and some that’s on its last legs,” she said. Her motion passed on a 14-6 vote. An earlier motion from Rep. Rick Youngblood, R-Nampa, didn’t include that $84,000, but after hearing about the situation, even Youngblood voted for Ringo’s motion. Said Ringo, “No amount of baling wire and duct tape would resuscitate that.”
The governor had recommended a 2.6 percent increase in state funding for IPTV next year to $1.6 million; the agency’s request, largely because of equipment replacement items, was for a 78.2 percent boost to $2.8 million. The approved motion is a 9.8 percent boost to $1.7 million.
IPTV’s total budget figures are changing for next year because, through a joint effort between the agency, the governor’s Division of Financial Management and the Legislature, donated funds and federal grant funds, which make up the majority of IPTV’s funding, are now being included in the total appropriation. That means the total-appropriation figure shows a big jump, to $7.8 million, but the increase just reflects what already was coming in from donations and grants.