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Williamson discusses internet coverage study

By Dwain W. Penn Countywide broadband coverage allowing high-speed access to the world wide web may become a reality by the end of the year. Williamson became the first city to support a feasibility study by passing a resolution at its May 2 meeting. John Barker, chairman of the Pike County Development Authority, shared with council details about the proposed project. About three months ago the idea for internet coverage was brought up at a Pike County commissioners meeting and was delegated for further investigation. The development authority conferred with the board of education and Pike and concluded countywide coverage can be important for education and economic development. The authority has funds available for a feasibility study. According to Barker there is technology available at reasonable prices that will put an internet access bubble over the county.  ’Once completed, the study will provide sufficient information to make an educated decision,’ said Barker. The proposed study will look at implementation costs, cost to subscribers including municipal, educational and general public, and system maintenance costs. Some costs can be paid from revenue generated by Pike once the system is operational. Barker said Pike is unique in that it has several cities with water tanks, which can be used to piggyback the signals. When the subject of water tanks came up, Mayor Steve Fry said Williamson would install a free-standing tower if its plan to sell the water tank brings in an offer of $100,000 or more. Council unanimously approved a resolution to support a joint feasibility study. COUNCIL ALSO: ’¢ Heard landscaping has begun around the new library thanks to salvaged boxwoods from courthouse work. Final work includes mostly interior jobs of shelving media and installing computers. ’¢ Approved a contractor to replace windows and doors at city hall. ’¢ Received a report that sheetrock work at LZ Ketchup is moving along. ’¢ Learned Williamson’s animal control department has undergone an upgrade with the acquisition of a smaller trap for use to capture puppies and cats. ’¢ Agreed with city attorney Rob Morton that the annexation of property on Georgia Highway 362 west should not be reversed because Williamson may eventually annex the airport. Council did request Morton and Morton to fix minor defects in the 1988 annexation. ’¢ Agreed to support and execute the multi-jurisdictional hazard mitigation plan. ’¢ Heard windows in the abandoned Little Street house will be removed and Environmental Protection Division permits are being processed for a controlled burn of the structure. ’¢ Discussed changing the wording of the city code concerning right-of-way maintenance of new subdivisions, delaying responsibility until the development is 85% filled. The city accepted Ashley Glen’s streets too early. As the economy improves, new home construction will bring heavy traffic which may damage streets.

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