Scott County Fiscal Court wants to make sure those who live in rural communities receive broadband Internet coverage.
The fiscal court heard a presentation Friday from Shane New, Bluegrass Area Development District director of community planning, on a grant through the United States Department of Agriculture that could be used to help pay for expanding broadband service.
It would be a 85/15 grant where the federal government would pay for 85 percent of the funding and the county would use local funds to pay for 15 percent.
“The biggest stipulation we have found is that you cannot put broadband in any place where cell phone data is available at that location,” New said.
A study could be completed for $3,000 to $5,000 that would analyze where broadband is currently located and lacking in Scott County. A map would be created to pinpoint the areas where broadband currently is and where there are dead spots for cell phone service.
Fiscal court member Rick Hostelter said the amount of the study sounds reasonable.
“To have the county mapped is something we need,” Hostetler said.
Chad Wallace, fiscal court member, said there is a gap in cell phone service in northern and northwestern Scott County.
“Areas in my district such as Cane Run Road and Galloway Road don’t get broadband, but get cell phone service and can get a jet pack to provide Internet on their phone,” Wallace said.
Judge-Executive George Lusby said the fiscal court will need to approve the feasibility study and applying for the grant.
“Broadband and high speed Internet is important in this day in age. School kids need to use computers that they didn’t before and it’s not like having a telephone 50 years ago,” Lusby said.
In other business, the court reviewed an issue with trees in Winding Oaks Subdivision that is located at the intersection of Iron Works Pike and Cane Run Extended.
Tthe county met with the developer and asked for them to come up with a plan to address trees in the subdivision that have been planted, Lusby said. The trees are causing a safety issue for school buses and other drivers in the subdivision, according to Lusby.
During Friday’s work session, the fiscal court requested the developer provide a written plan on how they will maintain the trees in the subdivision.
Matt Welch, subdivision developer, said the subdivision’s Willow Oak tree lined street exceeded the county’s minimum landscaping requirement. He added he never questioned that the trees he planted would be too close to the road.
“We put together a nice subdivision and did not want to run into any hurdles,” Welch said.
Fiscal court member David Livingston said he is concerned about how fast the trees are growing that are obstructing the view of drivers.
“We have had to deal with some things that were done differently in the past this court has had to correct and it has cost us a lot of money,” Livingston said.
Looking to the future, he doesn’t want a future court to have to require the trees to come out because they are destroying a county road.
Jennifer Peryam can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.