County approves formation of b'band ad hoc group

By AUTUMN HUGHES
Posted 9/17/19

Continuing efforts to bring broadband service to the area, the Bradley County Commission has approved forming a broadband initiative ad hoc committee.

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County approves formation of b'band ad hoc group

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Continuing efforts to bring broadband service to the area, the Bradley County Commission has approved forming a broadband initiative ad hoc committee.

Commissioner Erica Davis proposed the idea during last week’s work session; she asked Monday that it be placed on the voting session agenda for consideration.

She mentioned last week that in 2018 Bradley County became a Broadband Ready Community, "so that kind of moved us in the direction we need to go, but it's still an issue."

Commissioner Louie Alford asked about the goals for the ad hoc committee. Davis reiterated her comments from last week:

• Educate the public on the latest steps being taken in this area to expand broadband accessibility, as well as “what’s coming in the future.”

“We want to educate the public,” Davis said.

• Invite local and state officials, school board members and members of the public, so they can “all hear directly from them.”

• Talk about the process and provide real-time action steps “so we know where we are in this effort to get Bradley County broadband in every district.”

For example, Davis said Bradley Countians can visit Volunteer Energy Cooperative’s website and express interest in broadband.

To do so, visit vec.org and click on the “Broadband Service” link in the upper right corner. Once routed to the Twin Lakes — powered by VEC Fiber website, fill out the address form on the right side to learn more about what’s available.

• Work to lobby state and local officials “to ensure that Bradley County receives top consideration for future grants and projects.”

Davis noted that by forming the ad hoc committee and working toward gathering reliable information regarding broadband, that doesn’t guarantee that the service will expand throughout Bradley County, including the Sixth District she represents.

Commissioner Charlotte Peak said she doesn’t want the public to think “we (as the County Commission) have some say or ability to get broadband here …”

“I just don’t want to mislead everybody out there … we have nothing to do with it (where internet providers decide to expand service),” Peak said.

Davis said her goal is to also have community meetings to share the information presented to the ad hoc committee.

Commissioner Milan Blake asked Davis what role she sees internet providers having in the ad hoc committee process, because those providers apply for grants to expand broadband. Davis said she wants to see a VEC representative, among others, attend meetings and share information.

In other business, the County Commission:

• Approved a Bradley County Schools budget amendment of $1,199,187.62, for Voluntary Pre-K/Early Childhood Education for the 2019-20 fiscal year (original budget per ePlan). The budget amendment specifies funding for Communications ($13,498), Contracts with Private Agencies ($893,080), Operating Lease Payments ($26,068), Maintenance & Repair Services ($22,531), Travel ($15,854), Other Contracted Services ($60,760), Instructional Supply ($75,937), Other Supplies & Materials ($37,617), Staff Development ($5,646‚, Other Charges ($44,415), and Indirect Costs ($3,781.62).

This item had been part of the consent agenda, but Blake asked that it be pulled from the agenda and voted on separately.

• Approved the Three-Star Community packet, as presented by County Mayor D. Gary Davis. He said the packet includes the county’s debt management policy; latest cash flow statement, as sent to the state of Tennessee; and acknowledgement that all offices need a system of internal controls.

• Approved the appointments of Trustee Mike Smith and Commissioners Erica Davis, Kevin Raper, Mike Hughes and Bobby Goins to the Ethics Committee. Each one-year term is appointed by the county mayor.

• Approved the appointment of Scott Oliver to the Healthy Community Initiative Committee, to serve a four-year term, appointed by the county mayor.

• Heard from Blake the next Finance Committee meeting is scheduled for 11 a.m. on Monday, Oct. 14, in the County Commission conference room at the courthouse.

• Heard from Blake the Household Hazardous Waste Collection Event is scheduled for 7:30 a.m. to noon on Saturday, Oct. 19, at the Bradley County Justice Center.

• Heard from Peak a constituent contacted her about the Dollar General area on Dalton Pike, where overgrown grass is causing sight-distance issues. She asked about contacting the Tennessee Department of Transportation to request a study to install a traffic light or caution light.

Chairman Johnny Mull said they can ask executive administrative assistant Lorri Moultrie to do that.

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