Clanton Council approves broadband survey funding

Published 12:44 pm Friday, May 29, 2020

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The Clanton City Council unanimously approved $9,000 to cover their portion of a countywide broadband survey initiative.

Whitney Barlow, executive director of the Industrial Development Authority of Chilton County, posed the topic of rural broadband reliability and some the ways available to improve it.

“Rural broadband has been an issue in the state and the area for some time now,” Barlow said.

The study will cost $75,000, and Barlow is going around to the various municipal councils with the hopes that they, along with the County Commission will approve to pay portions of the total expense.

“We would be one of the few rural counties that would have been proactive at this point,” Barlow said. “Being proactive gets you grants.”

According to Barlow, the current pandemic has sparked the broadband conversation with so many people realizing the importance of having a more reliable option to work and educate from home if necessary.

She spoke of Gov. Kay Ivey’s plan to put $800 million in a pot for broadband improvement throughout the state.

However, in order to have a greater chance of receiving some of the designated money through grants, Barlow expressed the first step is for the county’s residents to take part in a survey.

“The survey will point out where [internet service] holes exist,” Barlow said.

Part of the conversations have included the IDA meeting with the Board of Education and St. Vincent’s Chilton.

Chilton County Schools Superintendent Jason Griffin got the ball rolling with an “all-call” and having passed out surveys to all parents within the public-school system.

Barlow informed the Clanton Council that 300 surveys have already been filled out and sent back.

She expects the survey collection process to take four to six months to complete.

In other news from the meeting:

  • The Council passed an ordinance to re-zone the intersection along Logan Road behind Pizza Hut from a Residential 3 classification to Business 2.
  • A resolution by the Solid Waste Disposal Authority of Chilton County was approved to accept the lowest bid for transportation, management and operation of the solid waste transfer station located in Thorsby to AMWASTE LLC at a rate of $53 per ton of garbage.