Lee town board discusses broadband expansion, parks department
LEE — Broadband expansions are in the works across the county and the Town of Lee is taking a measured approach before committing.
Oneida County is currently seeking proposals from internet service providers to expand broadband services into areas in need. The town has sent a letter of intent, expressing interest in the project but not committing any money.
“When the dust settles, if we want to put money toward it, we could elect to do that,” Councilor Shawn Finster said at a recent meeting. “And then we can try to entice [the service provider] to come to Lee.”
Supervisor John Urtz asked just how much a project like that would cost the town.
In this case, municipalities and businesses usually come to an agreement where each pays a certain amount, usually 50%. The Town of Lee doesn’t know how much it will cost right now. But the town still has money left over from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act that could be used to pay for it.
There are places around Lee, like Hawkins Corners Road, where there isn’t coverage. However, Councilor James Jones said after the meeting that residents hadn’t brought up any internet coverage issues to them.
But one project in which the town is very interested is the formation of a standalone parks department. Currently, the town of Lee contracts for services such as plowing, mowing, and custodial services.
The Lee Town Council will be holding a special meeting next week in executive session to discuss what would need to be done to make a parks department a reality.
“We would be able to do everything in-house with a parks department,” Jones said. “The money is in the budget for these services currently, but if we had a standalone parks department, we wouldn’t have to go out to bid. With what we pay in contracting services, we should be able to save money in the long run. But that’s what we’ll have a look at in this special meeting.”
Another benefit that Jones cited for a standalone Parks Department was being able to hire dedicated staff who would be committed to the town and “… have its best interests at heart.”
“We’ve had a few problems in the past with the little league field being mowed. And this past year, it was raining so much that you’d need to mow your lawn three times a week,” Jones said. “If we needed to mow the field three times a week, we’d mow it. ... A parks department would give us more control and better control.”
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