The Jasper City Council voted on Thursday afternoon to go into the broadband business by awarding a contract for just under 16 million dollars to a Wisconsin firm for the construction of a broadband network here in Jasper.
The measure came following a motion, which was made by council member Michael Daniels, which was immediately followed by a second from council member David Shultz. The action passed in a three to one vote with Daniels, Shultz and council member Laura Golden all voting for and council member Anderson Land voting against. Council member Demarcus Holmes was not present.
Three proposals had been submitted including the successful bidder, Kramer Service Group of Weyerhaeuser, Wisconsin for $15,863.707.36, WT Engineering Group of Hoffman Estates, Illinois for $17,758,191.36 and MEP Energy Services for $15,896,000.00 and in the end, it was the low bid submitted by Kramer that was selected.
Ironically, the Kramer Service Group, which was selected as the successful bidder was the firm that had been selected last year to draw up the specifications for the system at a cost of $450,000 to the city.
In January the Jasper City Council had retained Nathan Watkins, and his firm known as Integrative Results of Baytown to advise them on matters involving the implementation of broadband and associated matters for a fee of $25,000 per month, not to exceed a total of $300,000 per year. However, Watkins was not present at Thursday’s specially called meeting to address the issue.
The move signals that the City of Jasper will now go into competition with the two providers of broadband services already serving Jasper, which include AT&T and Sparklight, along with at least two wireless providers.
In other action on Thursday the council attempted to go forward with a proposal submitted by the Sour Lake firm of Bright Star Solutions for $1,230.075 for the replacement of street lights, which was the low bid. The motion was made by city council member Anderson Land to accept the proposal from Bright Star. However, following some discussion the issue was tabled to a future meeting. Other bids included one from Texas Elite Electrical of Liberty for $1,993,250 and another from Minton Electric of Jasper for $1,852.00.