Commissioners move forward with broadband project


By Ryan Berry

GREENVILLE — Broadband is coming to rural Darke County. Darke County Commissioners Matt Aultman, Marshall Combs and Larry Holmes approved an infrastructure agreement with Agile Network Builders, LLC during their regular session on Tuesday, Oct. 31.

This agreement is part of the state’s objective to make broadband internet available to all residents in Ohio. According to the agreement, “The COVID-19 pandemic has manifested the importance of High-Speed Broadband Services for employment, education, consumerism, telemedicine and other resident needs to successfully function and compete in today’s society.” Commissioner Holmes took the lead on the issue and worked with the state and local agencies to make the dream of broadband for all a reality in Darke County.

Funding to install the infrastructure will come from four separate sources. The Darke County Community Improvement Corporation has pledged $200,000 a year over the next three years. Their total contribution will be $600,000 and will be provided through conveyance fees. On Monday, Lt. Governor Jon Husted came to Greenville and announced the state would be provided $500,000 in grants for the project. With a total projected cost of a little over $2.7 million, Agile has pledged $840,000 twoard the project and the county will pick up the remainder at a little over $850,000.

Agile is expected to complete the broadband infrastructure work for the 10 tower sites within 18 months, however, a completion date has not been determined. According to the agreement, prior to Agile beginning its work, the company will submit a proposed timeline for completion. The proposal will include milestones of the completion date for each tower site.

As previously reported, different internet provider companies will have access to the tower, which will allow for competition and ensure Darke Countians receive the best price for broadband internet services.

In other business, the commission approved two fund advances for work completed at the Darke County Airport. The first was for $81,732.65 for work on the terminal building. The second was for $241,074.50 for completed outside the terminal building, including the parking area and access road. The funds will be advanced back into the General Fund once the grant monies are received.

According to Commissioner Aultman, work is continuing at the airport with the construction crews finishing up the to-do list. There are still a few projects that will not be completed until spring, but for the most part, the project is nearing its completion.

Commissioners also approved Walls Brothers’ bid to complete work on several roads next year. The county is getting federal funding to resurface portions of Horatio-Harris Creek, Beamsville-Union City and Gettysburg Webster Roads in Darke County. The total price is $2,206,038.87. The bid came in below the engineer’s estimate of $2.26 million. Darke County will pay 20 percent of the cost with the remaining 80 percent coming from the federal government.

To contact Daily Advocate Editor Ryan Berry, email [email protected].

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