CAT TV left out of Columbia's proposed fiscal year budget, again

Jul 17, 2014

television set
Credit videocrab / flickr

The city of Columbia finance department confirmed Thursday that funding for Columbia Access Television, or CAT TV, will not be included in the 2015 fiscal year budget. CAT TV had this problem last year, but after community outcry, the City Council and City Manager Mike Matthes reconsidered and budgeted for it.

The station provides a public access channel allowing members of the community to publish work of their own. Jennifer Erickson is the executive director of CAT TV. She explained CAT TV offers classes to the public in media and gives them the opportunity to rent equipment in order to make video projects.

Erickson said the public could help get CAT TV back in the budget. "We have so many people who see on a day to day basis what these resources can do in the community.  And so those are the people that will definitely speak out," she said.

Erickson added that if CAT TV is zeroed out of the budget, there will be big changes. "It would mean that we would have to cut some of our resources and it would make a drastic change to what we would be able to provide as a community media center," she said. For now, she is hoping for CAT TV to become sustainable, but she knows this will take many years.

The city was not able to make a comment on the exclusion. Matthes will present the proposed budget at a press conference next week.