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Wimpeg Seeks Replacement Funds

MONMOUTH/INDEPENDENCE — The city of Independence will contribute another $1,500 this fiscal year to WIMPEG’s budget, said city manager David Clyne.   The decision came after a request made by Monmouth mayor and WIMPEG board member John Oberst to the Independence City Council at its Feb. 25 meeting.   WIMPEG is on channels 17 (Western Oregon University), 18 (Monmouth) and 99 (Independence) on MINET. Charter Communications no longer carries any WIMPEG channels, Oberst said.   The public-access station covers public meetings and broadcasts other shows produced by volunteers.   Oberst also asked Monmouth City Council to contribute $1,500 this fiscal year to the public-access channel. That council had not made a decision as of press time.   The cities of Monmouth and Independence and MINET had pledged cash and resources to WIMPEG at the start of the 2013-14 fiscal year.   When MINET General Manager Don Patten was hired, all contributions from MINET were halted, Oberst said in a memo to the Independence City Council.   Oberst said the requests made to the councils could be viewed as “replacing the funding withdrawn by MINET.”   When Patten was hired, one of the first things he did was cut any expenses he could, Oberst said.   “He runs a tight ship,” he said. “He runs it like a business. We’re thrilled right now.”   Had MINET paid WIMPEG the contributions pledged by its previous interim manager, it would leave less money to pay debt service, which the cities would then have to pay anyway, Oberst added.   “It makes much more sense in my mind to go straight to the two cities,” he said.   Clyne, who also is a board member of MINET, agreed.   “MINET has been struggling with their finances,” he said. “In uncertain financial times, it didn’t seem appropriate to be donating money. Charter (Communications cable network) wasn’t contributing funds.”   In addition to the $1,500 from each city this fiscal year, Independence will put $6,000 in its budget for WIMPEG next year, which will have to be approved by the budget committee and council. Monmouth has been asked to do the same.   

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