The Bourbon Town Council pledged $40,000 to help fund a proposed fiber optic cable project that could bring more internet access to the town. The three member council voted unanimously to extend the pledge during their meeting on August 9.
Donna Burroughs, superintendent of Triton School Corporation, explained that the school corporation has been approved for a federal grant between $280,000-$300,000. Burroughs said the grant was automatically approved by submitting the application. Burroughs said the federal contribution would have to be to the school corporation.
Burroughs said a first quote from Medtronic for the project was approximately $1.3 million; however, a second quote from Rochester based RTC Fiber for $403,000 seemed to be within reach. Burroughs said RTC already supplies services to several sites, including Tippecanoe Valley Schools.
According to Burroughs, at least five businesses in the Bourbon area have indicated that they would donate to the project. Burroughs said, “REMC has already pledged $10,000-$12,000. We will be given their final donations amount within a week.” She indicated that REMC would like to use services for such things as meter reading. Those businesses donating would receive a tax break, according to Burroughs.
The monthly cost for internet services for the Triton Schools would be lowered from of $7,200 to $2,200 if the new services were completed.
Speaking in favor of pursuing options for funding was Jerry Chavez, president/CEO Marshall County Economic Development. Chavez said, “This could actually be a model for smaller towns.”
The next step outlined by those speaking at the council meeting is to approach the Marshall County Council for some funding. Chavez said before seeking county funds they need to have a solid plan, have the budget nailed down, and donation pledges from both the town and businesses. “You are not asking for a blank check.” Said Chavez.
The town’s pledge would come from the Community Development Fund . The fund is tax generated and has an existing balance of $125,000 according to Town Clerk Kim Berger.
Burroughs said the fiber optic lines would run up US 31 and cross over to Bourbon on 12B Road. Burroughs said it would make a redundant loop .
Businesses have until August 17 to pledge dollars toward the project. Burroughs said they have a meeting with the County scheduled for September 12.
It was noted that private households would be able to access the services as well.