• Marion County sells cable company at $7M loss


    MARION COUNTY, Fla. - The Marion County city that borrowed $8 million to form its own cable and Internet business has sold it at a huge loss.

    Dunnellon city leaders told Channel 9's Berndt Petersen how they will now get the town out of debt.

    Greenlight Communications, Dunnellon's city-owned internet, cable, and phone company has been sold for $1 million.

    Mayor Nathan Whit of Dunnellon says he's not happy with the price.

    Whitt says that's because the city borrowed $8 million to start it.

    "People were just mad about it," resident Matthew Ball said.

    Residents never took a liking. In two years, Greenlight had just 500 customers. The system lost
    $60,000 a month.

    Not to mention a huge debt even after collecting money from the sale.

    The problem is the city will still owe $5 million on that loan, so taxpayers are still on the hook.

    Florida cable incorporated is the buyer and has agreed to take over a $1 million annual lease on equipment used to run the system.

    City leaders figure they're actually getting $2 million off the deal. But Mayor Whitt, who makes it clear that he was not in office when the city borrowed all that money, says it will take time to pay off that multi-million dollar loan.

    "Three to five years I would guess, before we can truly bring ourselves out of that debt," Whitt said.

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    Marion County sells cable company at $7M loss