The Carroll County Council, led by the 2022 President Scott Ayres, decided to allow Auditor Beth Myers to place paid advertisements for additional appropriations (additional to the approved budget) in the newspaper at will and without their knowledge at the Thursday, Jan. 20, meeting. It was decided she would notify council members about the advertisements before the next meeting to allow them time to discuss the requests with department heads.

Council members also directed Myers to place an additional appropriation ad for $1.6 million to pay a contract for broadband although the County Commissioners have not seen or approved the document.

The matter was pursued by the Carroll County Economic Development Corp. (EDC) Executive Director Jake Adams. Adams provided information about a vendor for the service, Broadway Broadband, and presented it to the Council prior to the next Commissioners’ meeting, which will be Feb. 7. Broadway Broadband is the company chosen by the City of Delphi to provide fiber Internet to the city. (The Town of Flora has chosen to work with Mulberry Communications.)

Adams said the cost of the installation will be between $3 million to $5 million and he said he would like for the county to pay for the first phase. He said when the first phase is paid for, the county could be in line for further state funding for the project.

Adams advised the first phase will connect 2,135 homes in outlying areas to fiber Internet, with a monthly fee for each household. Council member Josh Plue, who is a member of the EDC, advocated for the money to be advertised from the American Rescue Plan (ARP) funds and made a motion for Myers to advertise $1.6 million for the project. Council member Tim Radcliff provided the second. Scott Ayres, also a member of EDC, voted along with Plue’s motion as did the remainder of the council members present, Larry Stauffer and Tracy Martin. Ethan Brown and Paul Rider attended the meeting virtually and also voted in favor of the motion.

Adams told the Comet Broadway Broadband approached EDC about working with the county and referred to the service as “an investment.” Adams said no other companies were ready to do what Broadway is ready to do now.

He said he discussed the matter with all three County Commissioners individually prior to the Council meeting. He said it was a matter of timing that he brought the matter to the Council before the Commissioners and indicated the contract with the vendor might be a contract between EDC and the vendor or the county and the vendor. Adams said all questions will have to be satisfied before the project can move forward.

Opening ritual for meetings

The Pledge of Allegiance to the United States is recited by the County Council (and any audience member who wants to join in) before each meeting. Ayres suggested adding a recital of the 4-H Pledge as well. The motion to approve the addition was defeated.

Plue made a motion to hold a prayer before the meeting. Although a moment of silence in lieu of a prayer was suggested by Martin, the majority of the council members decided for the prayer. It was discussed that a different member of the clergy could be invited to lead the prayer at each meeting.
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