Hamburg City Council approved requests regarding local Internet access and possible grant funds during its last meeting.
Council passed a resolution to waive franchise fees for the Ashley-Chicot Electric Cooperative for operation for a broadband distribution system.
Mayor Dane Weindorf said the new technology could improve the area’s Internet speed by three and four times the speed offered now. Ashley-Chicot Electric will be responsible for installing all of the equipment and maintaining the service. The resolution as adopted says they will not pay franchise tax for 20 years to assist them with the start up cost of getting the service up and running.
In the meantime, Police Chief Johnny Oliver announced that Hamburg Police Department will reach out to area youth by providing free wi-fi in the city.
Oliver said that with school possibly being online next year he wanted to make sure all students in town had Internet access. The wi-fi will be available in three locations within the city, and the school will be in charge of getting the information and passwords out to the students for their use.
Weindorf said that this will be paid for out of Oliver’s annual budget and that he was proud of the police department for stepping up and using some of their funding to do this.
The mayor added that he has been unable to get an update on the AT&T tower that was supposed to be installed in the city limits, a move that was controversial with some residents.
The company went through several meetings with both the city and the zoning commission to get approval to build it, but Weindorf said he hasn’t been able to reach anyone to get any updated information on the project or to find out if AT&T is still planning to proceed with it.
Council also approved last week the purchase of a ROLLINRACK hose management system for Hamburg Fire Department in the amount of $8,535.
The GP Bucket Brigade grant will fund $5,000 of the cost and the balance will come from Act 833 funds.
Another grant Weindorff intends to apply for would fund projects such as a splash pad at Pine Street Park, a splash pad at Norman Park, and relighting the baseball and softball fields at Norman Park. It would be a $250,000 grant that comes with a requirement that the city will match the funds.