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Archive for Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Baldwin City seeks IRB for broadband company

October 29, 2013

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Douglas County commissioners will be asked Wednesday to give their blessing to a proposed $5 million bond issue to bring fiber-optic Internet connections to Baldwin City.

Baldwin City Administrator Chris Lowe said that an Internet company is asking the city to issue $5 million in industrial revenue bonds to finance construction of a fiber network that would offer faster broadband service in the community than what is currently available.

Lowe identified the company as Dawn Fiber LLC, which does business under the name Free State Broadband.

Approval by the County Commission is needed because part of the infrastructure would be located outside the city limits in unincorporated Douglas County.

Lowe said the project is still tentative because the company is still negotiating with a lender who would buy the bonds. If approved, however, the project would qualify for a property tax abatement and sales tax exemptions.

Last week, the Baldwin City Council approved a resolution of intent to issue the bonds. Lowe said a public hearing is scheduled for Monday to consider authorizing the tax abatements. But that hearing could be delayed, Lowe said, if the company does not finalize its financing arrangement by that time.

County commissioners will consider the proposal when they meet at 4 p.m. Wednesday in the county courthouse.

Commissioners will also consider a consent agenda that includes:

• Approval of a 2014-2015 behavioral health budget within the Community Corrections department of $74,060, which is funded through a grant from the state of Kansas.

• A resolution reappointing Dr. Eric Mitchell as the district coroner, and Dr. Altaf Hossain and Dr. Charles Glenn as deputy district coroners for the Seventh Judicial District for four-year terms beginning Oct. 30.

• A resolution scheduling a public hearing to consider the proposed sale of the former ambulance building, 225 Maine St., to Lawrence Memorial Hospital for $325,000.

• A recommendation to purchase three pickup trucks for the Public Works Department for $154,555.

• And approval of a site plan agreement, and agreements not to protest inclusion in a benefit district for improvements along 25th St. and East 1700 Road, all associated with development of the new Public Works facility.

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