The increase in broadband in the county was discussed at length at Thursday’s Washington County Commission meeting.
Flite Freimann, director of the Washington County Department of Employment and Family Services, has asked the COVID Relief Fund for $ 105,224 to move forward with a project that would add infrastructure to bring broadband into communities. homes along the Ohio 26.
He said that when students were on a hybrid schedule, there were difficulties with “Broadband deserts”, which were areas of the county that did not have Internet service.
Over a month ago, he submitted to the board a request for proposals to local service providers to present a plan to reach these deserts, he said.
“The Southern Ohio Broadband Cooperative has come back with a plan to provide service up to (Ohio) 26, which offers a myriad of benefits to JFS” he said.
This will ensure that any child living in Ohio 26 will be able to get their homework and interact with the teacher.
“Often, homework has to be emailed. “ he said. “We would hate to be in a situation where someone would be denied the opportunity to be a foster parent or the opportunity to be a foster parent because there was no internet at home and this child could not participate in school activities. “
Commissioner Jamie Booth, who is a long-time supporter of broadband expansion in the county, read a statement regarding broadband PD.
“I believe that if Washington County is to be prosperous in the future, the entire county will need to have access to reliable and reliable broadband,” he stated. “The approach that I think is effective is a step-by-step program with benchmarks. It is a plan that involves a process of “checks and balances”.
He said that when organizations receive funds, performance and execution criteria should be checked.
“My personal conviction is that the time for studies is over” he said. “Now is the time for ‘boots on the ground’. Therefore, I support this tender, but I am abstaining due to my previous relationship with the cooperative.
The proposal and funding request, which were approved Thursday, said the cost of the three towers would be $ 83,984, the six repeaters would cost $ 9,240, and the three-month salary for an engineer would cost $ 12,000.
“This allows us to put in place the necessary infrastructure for the people who live along (Ohio) 26 to benefit,” said Freimann.
In other committee activities:
¯ An amendment to the collective agreement with Children’s Services has been approved. Freimann said the amendment would allow a mentoring program for young social workers.
“We are adding a designation of team leader to the bargaining unit”, he said.
They would appoint more experienced people as team leaders and then ask them to help with coaching and mentoring, training, quality control, and case review. Team leaders, as long as they hold this designation, would receive an additional 75 cents per hour.
“And offer a prize to share this experience” said Freimann.
¯ A county auditor’s resolution to certify 911 renewal tax revenue was also approved. This is a renewal tax for the same mileage which will be entered in the November ballot.
¯ An annual payment in lieu of tax distribution from Wayne National Forest was also presented to the Board of Directors.
“We’re looking at $ 59,593, of which 78.95% goes to Frontier (local school district), 8.55% goes to county and 12.5% to townships.” said Commissioner Charlie Schilling. “This is how it breaks down.”
Commission Chairman Kevin Ritter said the forest covers tens of thousands of acres in Washington County.
“We only get a pittance. I would love to see the federal government working with the county to make some of this land suitable for development, whether it’s mining rights, logging rights or whatever. he said.