Charter Communications will not provide cable services to Umatilla until legal action is completed against Almega Cable.

Umatilla City Manager Bob Ward made that announcement during the regular Umatilla City Council meeting on Tuesday night.

"Charter has stepped back from looking at (providing service) until the Almega bankruptcy is complete," Ward said. "I wish I could say how long, but bankruptcy proceedings are complex."

Almega Cable is a Texas-based company that operates franchise cable services throughout Oregon. The company purchased the city's previous cable company in 2008, taking over the franchise agreement, but over the next two years, Almega failed to pay the city any lease payments or taxes. With dwindling customer support and declining services, city officials sent the company a 30-day termination notice in July 2010.

At the time, about 500 Umatilla households subscribed to Almega services.

Almega Cable has since declared bankruptcy, freezing acquisition of assets that could be used to reinstate cable services to the city under a different provider.

Ward has been working with Charter Communications, which provides cable services to Hermiston, as a potential replacement provider, and the city manager said the company will reassess the potential of expanding into Umatilla once the Almega bankruptcy is settled.

In other business:

• Hasu Mistry, Umatilla resident and owner of Umatilla Inn and Suites, spoke to the council about a community meeting he organized April 28. Mistry said the meeting was able to bring "quite a few" people together for open discussion about how to improve Umatilla. Two main points came out of that meeting, Mistry said: a lack of communication in the city and the need for greater community involvement.

• Former mayor Karen Steen expressed concern about the way action on Resolution 08-2011 was recorded in the minutes of the April meeting.

• The council approved an ordinance removing restrictions on who can be part of the city's Transient Room Tax Committee. During the meeting, the council also appointed two people to that committee: Janice Ball and Hasu Mistry.

• A request from the Umatilla Museum for $5,000 in funding from the Transient Room Tax fund was tabled until the June meeting for committee review.

• Council members unanimously approved Ordinance 764, which establishes a reimbursement district within the city of Umatilla. The district allows the city to enter into latecomer agreements with entities that install utility services, such as Amazon, which is installing water and sewer lines from the city system to a property being developed for a data center.

• Barnett and Moro will continue as the city's auditors for the next three years, council members decided. Of eight firms contacted, Barnett and Moro was the only one to submit a proposal on time.  The contract is for $12,100 for the 2010-11 fiscal year and $12,100 plus a cost of living increase for the following two years.

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