Union County is poised to seize the transmission equipment owned by Almega Cable, a Texas-based company that provides cable television service to residents in Cove and North Powder.
subject to seizure: Transmission equipment owned by Almega Cable will be taken by Union County if a tax debt owed by the company isn’t paid by May 11. Submitted photo
Assessor Linda Hill said this week that Almega is five years behind in local property taxes. She said she has no choice but to shut power off to the transmission station, take the equipment and sell it at auction.
It isn’t known how many customers Almega serves in the area. It is certain that they will be left without service unless Almega pays up by the May 11 deadline.“Seizure isn’t something counties do very often. It’s the last resort when taxes are delinquent,” Hill said Monday.
According to Hill, Almega, which also does business as Techcore Consultants Inc., is $3,600 behind in county taxes and interest. The taxes became delinquent in November 2004, with interest accruing at 1.33 percent per month.
Hill said she has tried without success to collect the money, sending tax statements and also placing calls to Almega President Thomas Kurien.
In February, she and Kurien worked out an arrangement in which Almega agreed to pay a third of the balance in February, another third in April and the final third in June.
No payments were sent, Hill said.
Kurien contacted The Observer by e-mail Monday, saying his understanding of the arrangement is that he has until June to pay the money.
He made no reference to a payment plan. Neither did he make clear whether his company will continue to serve the Cove and North Powder areas.
“If the county is taking that step to shut down by May 11, we would like to give at least a few days of notice to our customers to seek alternative sources for cable TV service. Regardless, we will make the payments and bring the account current,” Kurien wrote.
On April 27, Hill sent Almega a letter of distraint, notifying the company that unless payment in full is received by May 11, the county will seize the transmission equipment.
Some of the equipment is located on land owned by the Ascension School in Cove. Other equipment sits on a lot owned by L.B. Cable LLC in North Powder.
Oregon Trail Electric Co-Operative will be ordered to shut power to the equipment off, Hill said.
“I’ll have the power turned off, and when it goes off there’s not going to be any cable,” she said. “That’s what’s bad. It’s going to have an impact on consumers.”
If Almega fails to pay the taxes after that, the equipment will go up for auction. The cost of taxes, interest and fees will be set as the minimum bid.
If there is no acceptable bid, the county will sell the equipment at a later date for whatever it can get.
Cove City Recorder Donna Lewis said Almega pays the city $190 a year in franchise fees. The company is paid up to date.
Almega is the same company that bought Crestview Cable in Wallowa County last year. The Wallowa County treasurer’s office said today it has no record of delinquent taxes for the company.
Almega is also the company that served the Weston-Athena-Adams area in Umatilla County until April of this year.
Service there was discontinued when Pacific Corp. was unable to collect money it was owed for Almega’s use of utility poles.
Charter Communications had sold the franchise to Rapid Communications, which in turn sold it to Almega.
Later, Charter was billed for use of the utility poles. Charter took the cable lines down and the area was left without cable.
Almega is headquartered in Bedford, Texas. The phone number is 817-685-9588.