Council hears from possible third internet provider, Miller responds to Dake’s August comments
The Versailles City Council spent nearly half of its hour-long meeting Tuesday in a presentation from a possible third internet provider. Metronet is considering bringing fiber optic internet, television and phone service to the city and is currently, as Mayor Brian Traugott put it, “turning Lexington into a gigabit city.” Kathy Scheller, an executive with the Evansville, Ind. based company, said Metronet is making a $70 to $100 million investment in Lexington.
“ … So what we’ll do when we install our fibers … we’ll have these terminals that are there. So once we pass a house or a business, if you’re happy with what you have now, you don’t have to take Metronet. But if you choose to do so, what we will do is actually bring a strand of fiber to your home,” Scheller said.
Scheller said having a direct fiber connection means customers don’t have to share bandwidth with other area customers, and that the lowest download speed the company offers to its 80,000 customers in three states is 100 megabits per second.
In a packet given to council members, the section labeled “Community Support” asks for help from the city in several areas: Door-to-door solicitations without “costly permits or heavy restrictions”
Tax abatement tied to build-out requirements
Access to city-owned fiber, conduit and property for utility huts, a monopole, warehouse property and a storefront. The latter would be purchased or obtained at a “low-cost lease”
Scheller said the company hires local technicians and sales representatives and would open a retail store here. She said the existing franchisees will push back strongly, but that in Lexington, Metronet’s oncoming presence has already made the incumbents provide better service.
The process could take two to three years and construction plans would be submitted in advance, Scheller said. Metronet would use existing KU and other poles for at least part of their coverage area, which would initially be offered in the densest areas. She said before construction, Metronet will send every resident in affected areas letters and postcards in advance, and stakes will be placed to mark underground construction sites.
Mayor Brian Traugott said most of the calls he gets from constituents upset over their cable or internet service are angry over customer service, or the lack thereof, and that he wants more competition. Council Member Ken Kerkhoff cited the good that high-speed internet service could bring to the Kentucky Community and Technical College System headquarters. Woodford Economic Development Authority Chair John Soper said Bluegrass Community Hospital and its patients, many of whom are transferred from hospitals in Frankfort and Lexington, would benefit from better telemedicine opportunities. He also said industrial clients, present and future, will have better prospects with improved communications.
Scheller said Metronet will appear before the council again to discuss possible timetables.
At the end of the meeting, Council Member Ann Miller read a prepared speech in which she responded to complaints from Council Member Laura Dake at the council’s Aug. 21 meeting about a lack of transparency in some council actions. Most of Dake’s comments that evening were aimed at an absence of meeting notices and minutes for the Downtown Pavilion Committee meetings chaired by Miller.
Tuesday, Miller noted that Versailles became a Certified City of Ethics earlier this year and that the council had improved in those areas during her time in office. She criticized Dake’s handling of the Downtown Planning Advisory Committee she chairs, saying Dake had submitting meeting minutes late and had made other mistakes, like allegedly not sharing request for proposals for improvements to Big Spring Park.
Miller read from an amendment to the city’s ethics code passed earlier this year: “An officer or employee may not falsely impugn the reputation of a city resident, employee or another officer of the city. If an officer or employee believes his or her accusation to be true and then learns that it was false, even in part, he or she should apologize in the same forum the accusations were made.”
Dake did not respond to Miller’s comments, just as Miller didn’t when Dake spoke in August. During that meeting, Traugott defended the council and said Dake’s comments would hurt the public’s perception of the council. Tuesday, after Miller spoke and Dake didn’t, the meeting was adjourned.
Solicitors and peddlers
Traugott began a brief discussion about reforming the city’s ordinance dealing with solicitors and peddlers by noting those selling carpet cleaning services and cleaning supplies have been especially aggressive lately. He said a “flaw” in the city’s “archaic” ordinance doesn’t allow the city to withhold permits, and that the First Amendment prevents a ban on such activities. Some cities have banned them, he said. City Attorney Bill Moore said he’d look into case law on the matter.
Miller said a young man carrying a TV in a shopping cart recently tried to sell it at Taylor Manor, which made some uncomfortable.
Traugott joked, “It was probably someone upset over their cable service.”
The council passed a resolution honoring the Woodford County High School Marching Band for its victory in the Derby City Classic in Louisville on Sept. 22. The resolution noted that the band had competed in increasingly heavy rain. Woodford Emergency Management Director Drew Chandler, who has a daughter on the squad, said her uniform was still drying out.