By CECIL PERGRAM
AT&T Kentucky President Hood Harris is shown in front of with Magistrate Timmy Tipton, Magistrate Kenneth “Goat” Rice, Magistrate Keith Hall, Powell County Judge Executive James Anderson, Magistrate Mike Lockard and Magistrate Donna Gabbard.
The Powell County Fiscal Court held a regular scheduled meeting on July 10 at the Powell County Courthouse.
The court approved the first reading of an ordinance relating to detailing the criteria the fiscal court needed to meet before a road can have speed bumps added to the existing roadway.
The court approved it’s 2018-2019 county contributions which includes financial contributions to various organization in Powell County including the Red River Museum, Powell County 4-H, the local fire departments and other such organizations. Motion was made by Magistrate Keith Hall, the motion was seconded by Magistrate Kenneth “Goat” Rice and the vote was unanimous.
The court approved a motion to hire Chris Chaney to handle recycling at the transfer station. The motion was made by Magistrate Keith Hall, seconded by Magistrate Kennth “Goat” Rice and the vote was unanimous.
Representatives from AT&T were at the meeting to give the court a presentation about fixed wireless broadband internet that the company will be offering in Powell County. AT&T will be using infrastructure it already has in place throughout the county in the form of cellular phone towers located on Furnace Road, Manning Road and Nada Tunnel Road to push broadband to the city of Stanton.
“We are pushing fiber optics out here right now in Powell County. Were doing that where we can but there are some places where it’s hard for is to get fiber and this allows us to get internet connection to people’s homes where a lot of cases they haven’t been able to get good service before,” AT&T Kentucky President Hood Harris said.
Representatives told members of the court if AT&T bundled their service it would cost them $50 a month but if they purchased standalone broadband service customers would be charged $60 a month for broadband internet service.
Harris told the court he estimates over 500 household will have broadband internet service available to them.
“I’ve expressed this before a lot of our community is rural and a lot of our future economic development in our underserved area and that’s the only thing keeping some of these places from exploding and just because were sitting there with low densities now if that was available that could change almost overnight,” Powell County Judge Executive James Anderson said.
We have got good problem to have we got something people find valuable and economic development finds valuable and we are trying to push it our as fast as we can, and as fast as we go it’s never fast enough,” Harris said. “The last three years in Kentucky we’ve invested $700 million in wired and wireless networks around the state of Kentucky and it’s a constant investment we’re doing and this is just the latest example of that.”
Harris also spoke to the court about FirstNet which is the first high-speed and nationwide wireless broadband network dedicated to public safety. FirstNet allows first responders to use 21st Century tools to get more information quickly which will help them to use them to use that information to make better decisions in hopefully a shorter amount of time.
“After 9/11 one of the lessons the 9/11 Commission learned was that some our first responders had a hard time communicating with one another and sharing data so the federal government setup a project to provide a secure first responder network,” Harris said.
AT&T was awarded the government contract and has successfully got all 50 states to opt into the FirstNet program as well as 12 territories belonging to the United States.
“It’s not just enabling more access to technology but I think it’s going to make our first responders safer and give better service to the public they’re supposed to be protecting,” Harris said.
The court had a discussion about the Middlefork Fire Department and plans for the department to begin advertising it’s looking to purchase a firetruck.
“I kind of told them what they were looking at with the budget and once they view it and see it’s what they want we were agreeable and open to the possibilities of doing that,” Powell County Judge Executive James Anderson said.
Other action taken by the fiscal court during the meeting:
The court approved to pay the bills to keep the county operating from month-to-month as they were presented to the court.
The court approved the Treasurers Transfers as they were presented to the court by Treasurer Connie Crabtree.
The court approved a budget amendment which was a reimbursement made by the Red River Wastewater Authority.
The court approved the minutes from past meetings held on June 12, June 29 and July 9.
The next regular scheduled meeting of the Powell County Fiscal Court is scheduled to be held on August 14. The court meets at 6 p.m. at the Judge Executive’s Office located inside the Powell Court Courthouse.