• Last modified 92 days ago (Feb. 21, 2024)


County may help pay for Burns broadband

Staff writer

A plan to bring broadband Internet to Burns received more than just a letter of support Tuesday from county commissioners.

They also will review county finances to see whether they can provide money to help Burns with its share of the project cost.

James Krstolich, Ideatek community and public relations manager, brought commissioners information about the company’s intent to apply for a state grant of up to $1 million to bring broadband service to Burns, Elbing, and Whitewater.

The project would cost $1.6 million and provide broadband to 125 Marion County households, 491 Butler County households, and two Harvey County households.

Burns has pledged $10,000 toward the project, with the money payable over several years.

Krstolich asked commissioners for money to help match state money.

“Burns reached out to Ideatek,” Krstolich told commissioners.

Burns Mayor Mike Hammann said the reason Burns contacted Ideatek is because the town, especially businesses, needed access to high speed Internet.

“I think $10,000 to Burns’s budget is quite a bit,” commissioner Randy Dallke said. “I’m open to any amount we can come up with to support this.”

Dallke suggested that county money be given to Burns so it could decide whether to give it to Ideatek as part of, or in addition to, its own pledge.

Although no decision was made on an amount the county would contribute, commissioners decided by consensus to sign off on the grant application and pore over county finances to find a contribution.

Ideatek’s grant application must be submitted by March 11. Awards will be announced in September.

Wind farm

In other business, a rural Hillsboro woman brought her objection to a wind farm expansion to commissioners.

Chris Guhr asked commissioners whether they had read a letter to the editor in an area newspaper. Most said they had, though chairman Dave Mueller said he hadn’t.

Guhr started to read it, then asked Mueller to continue because her eyes were giving her trouble.

After he finished reading her letter stating why she and her family objected to wind turbines, Mueller asked whether there were any further comments. There were none.

Commissioners also heard from Blue Cross Blue Shield representative Claudio Faundez that renewing the county’s current health insurance next year would cost 18% more.

Faundez recommended the county switch to a self-insurance plan.

Faundez will return after commissioners have had time to consider options.

Commissioners also conducted a 15-minute executive session with interim emergency medical services director Chuck Kenney to discuss appointment of him as permanent director. They did not make a decision.

Last modified Feb. 21, 2024