(TNS) — The city’s Internet project could be a way to solve connection concerns and boost employment.
Discussions at Monday’s Planning and Economic Development Committee meeting focused on bringing a new Internet company to Logansport — and, if it happens, then two solutions would result: higher-speed access through fiber optic cable and the opening of a local branch office.
Cash Lamberg and Rob Ramsey of BerryComm, LLC, of Kokomo, presented data to the board that laid out the ground work that would need to be done in order to provide Internet access to the entire downtown as well as outlying areas. If the city covered the expense alone, the cost would be approximately $750,000.
Funding could be provided through the City Council and Tax Increment Financing [TIF] due to the economic impact.
If other groups such as Logansport Municipal Utilities, Logansport Community School Corporation and the Logansport-Cass County Public Library got involved with the project, then the overall cost to the city would drop. Private meetings between these entities and BerryComm representatives will take place over the next few weeks.
Then, said Deputy Mayor Jacob Pomasl, it may be likely that a community-wide initiative would be underway. “If LMU got involved, it would drastically reduce the cost.”
Instead of burying the cable throughout the city, the Internet provider could use LMU’s poles, which would save time and money, he explained, adding that he hopes to have public input at a future meeting.
For now, though, the numbers are still being worked and planning is in the early stages, he said. “But I think this is a good investment for the city. It’s something that makes sense, especially now, with the times we’re living in, with people working from home and students doing eLearning. I think this is a good idea.”
And if the city is able to reach an agreement with the Howard County company, then BerryComm would consider opening a Cass County office in downtown Logansport. Not only would this ensure a local presence, it would add several jobs to the workforce.
The board also considered a federal grant program that would provide new sidewalks to three elementary schools — Columbia, Franklin, and Fairview. Representatives of Fleis & VandenBrink Engineering, Inc. of Indianapolis and Fort Wayne informed the board of steps that the city would need to take in order to get the project rolling.
As part of the “Safe Route to School” plan, Pomasl said the city will meet with LCSC representatives to gather information about the corporation’s construction and improvement priorities.
Right now, said Pomasl, the sidewalk project is in the “very early stages and is only an option to consider.” It’s an 80-20 matching grant with the federal government providing 80 percent and the city paying 20 percent of the overall cost, which has yet to be determined.
If a contract would be reached, work would not begin until 2026.
With the city employees not receiving increases in earnings for the 2021-2022 calendar year, Logansport Fire Department Chief Rick Bair and Logansport Police Department Chief Travis Yike sought information about how the spike in insurance costs would be handled.
The finance committee said a one-year agreement would be set. The additional amounts for insurance would be covered by the city, so that no one would “earn” less pay.
(c)2020 the Pharos-Tribune, Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.
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