TOWER— The city council here has approved a proposal by Brainerd-based Consolidated Telecommunications Co. to extend high-speed fiber optic Internet service to city hall, the fire hall, and the …
TOWER— The city council here has approved a proposal by Brainerd-based Consolidated Telecommunications Co. to extend high-speed fiber optic Internet service to city hall, the fire hall, and the Hoodoo Point Campground.
The cost of implementing the plan is estimated at $26,000, but the company is offering to invest $16,000 of that itself, leaving a remainder of $9,992 for the city to pick up.
The funding was not in the city’s 2018 budget, but City Clerk-Treasurer Linda Keith suggested that a portion of the one-time cost could come from several parts of the city budget, including fire and ambulance, the general fund and the campground account.
The proposal would provide a monthly savings on city telecommunications by eliminating several phone lines, and switching to Internet phone service. According to a proposal provided by the company, the change in systems would save the city about $166 per month, while providing Internet service of 100 megs both up and down at city hall and 50 megs at the campground and fire hall.
The company’s proposal would extend the usability of fiber optic lines installed by the Northeast Service Cooperative a few years. Frontier Communications was supposed to use the fiber as a backbone to extend improved service to business and residential customers in the area but has been slow to do so.
Keith said the need for higher Internet capacity is continuously increasing and that city work is being slowed by the current, low-capacity connection. She noted that the city will be switching to a new accounting software program, which is Internet-based, which will likely perform better with a higher speed connection.
Lauren Johnson, business accounts representative for CTC said the company is open to exploring other opportunities to expand its service offerings in the Tower area. The company established a partnership with the Northeast Service Cooperative about a year and a half ago and is looking to make use of the fiber optic cable the cooperative has installed to enhance Internet and other services in the region, including for businesses in the area.
In other business, the council:
Hired Thomas Gorsma as the city’s new assistant maintenance director. Gorsma will replace Dave Bjorgo, who was recently promoted to maintenance supervisor effective with the retirement of longtime maintenance supervisor Randy Johnson.
Approved setting the city payroll date as the seventh of the month.
Tabled a request from Randy Semo to operate a food truck concession at the Hoodoo Point Campground. Councilors had some questions about whether alcohol would be served and wanted input from the campground managers on the issue.
Requested sealed bids from area propane providers for the first meeting in June.