Last nights BoS business meeting was the last of the year because of the upcoming holidays. The BoS will meet this morning to attempt to finish up the budget and get the warrant ready for 2015 Town meeting.
The Broadband committee presented it's report to the BoS and the public and it was positively received. The full report can be found here . The recommendations as follows were adopted by the BoS in full:
1. Adopt a goal of 100% internet availability to the curb, so that all property owners can choose to connect. Direct town staff and volunteers to research solutions for unserved areas and to develop to a cost sharing formula that funds expansion of the communication infrastructure. This will be a best-effort goal and not a property owner’s right.
2. Direct that proposals be solicited from broadband providers, to extend service into pre-identified unserved areas. Be ready to repeat the process if new unserved areas are identified.
3. Ensure zoning/planning/building codes include broadband availability for new development.
4. Create a volunteer digital assistance program to manage expansion activity and help businesses
and residences get more value and productivity from online services.
1. Charge the digital assistance program to expand the provider matrix, developed by the broadband working group, into a guide for residences and businesses.
2. Document unserved properties, possibly via property assessment records.
3. In support of the town’s marketing effort, continue to improve the town’s broadband footprint documentation, including mapped areas where business class service is available.
4. Plan to revisit goals and investments every three years.
In addition to the above, the BoS added an immediate goal to utilize some money from the technology fund to install a public open wifi access point in Town Hall. I think that it will send a positive message that we are open for business.
In other business, the Town Engineer contract with KV Partners was not renewed. ( It does not expire until July 2015). A Town Engineer search committee will be formed after the first of the year. This was not an indication that the town is dissatisfied with KV Partners, and they may very well be the first choice going forward, but rather after 6 years or so it is appropriate to undertake this process to assure that taxpayers are getting the best possible bang for the buck.