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Halifax supervisors commit $100,000 more for broadband system

SoVaNow.com / November 09, 2017
The Halifax County Board of Supervisors Monday earmarked another $100,000 from the county’s Capital Improvement Project (CIP) fund to use as a cash match for outside funding to support the Halifax County Broadband Initiative.

The board’s motion stipulates the money will only be spent if the county is awarded grant funding to support expanded local broadband. Halifax will seek money from the Virginia Tobacco Commission and GO Virginia regional economic development council.

ED-1 Supervisor J. T. Davis moved for approval, saying this is “a good investment for our future.” The motion passed on a unanimous vote.

Supervisors denied two similar requests for support of broadband grant funding applications.

Mecklenburg Electric Cooperative send a letter to County Administrator Jim Halasz asking for the county’s support for grant requests to lay fiber optic cable in the region for ultra-high speed internet. The letter, from David Lipscomb of MEC, explained that outside grant funding would speed the cooperative’s plans to run fiber by thousands of homes and businesses in the service area, allowing access to the service.

Halasz said he had also received another request for board support from Richard Schollmann of CenturyLink, which proposes to extend broadband connectivity to over 1,000 customers in Brookneal, South Boston, Turbeville, Virgilina and Volens. Schollmann explained that without Tobacco Commission grant funding, CenturyLink would not be able to carry out the work.

Davis, arguing against both requests, noted that both companies are direct competitors of Halifax County, which is requesting funds from the Tobacco Commission and GO Virginia for the expansion of broadband service through a partnership with SCS, a third-party provider of internet service in rural areas.

Supervisors also approved a request for $5,000 to help fund an economic impact study at VIR to support a request to GO Virginia to connect VIR’s water system with that of the City of Danville.

Also, supervisors also approved an amendment with Verizon on the company’s lease for the 911 tower site. The board also approved the 2018 schedules for both local raceways, South Boston Speedway and VIR. They also finalized the solar ordinance adopted at their October meeting.

Lastly, board chairman Dennis Witt asked Halasz to write letters to local civic organizations seeking their help in finding people who are interested in serving on various committees and commissions.

“We have failed miserably in making appointments to the many boards and commissions and we need some help in finding people interested in serving,” Witt said.

Dewey Compton was recommended for reappointment to a three-year term on the Board of Equalization.

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