Archive for Friday, February 19, 2010

Council moves not to provide wireless Internet to city

February 19, 2010, 11:00 a.m.

Updated: February 24, 2010, 1:03 a.m.

The De Soto city council wants to make one thing clear: they are not going to be the town’s next Internet service provider.

During Thursday’s regular city council meeting, the council adopted the city’s wireless committee recommendations of not pursuing the wireless broadband Internet towers for the whole city.

Councilmember Mitra Templin summed up the committees findings by asking the other councilmembers, “does the city really want to get into another utility business?”

During the meeting, Pat Guilfoyle, city administrator, said it would take the city a lot capital investment to make that kind of service viable.

At first, a $10,000 to $50,000 would be needed to conduct a feasibility study to see how good or bad of an idea it was to build a wireless tower.

Guilfoyle said, if that study were to come back showing a wireless utility would be feasible, the city could then spend $150,000 to $300,000 for the equipment and infrastructure. This is without accounting for the amount of man-hours and equipment costs needed to maintain the system.

So far, the group has concluded that, in perfect conditions, the city would be able to recoup its money in three to five years.

But with the way the economy is going and without knowing how many people using private Internet service providers would sign on for a public wireless service, not everyone is convinced.

“To an extent, it’s a roll of the dice,” Guilfoyle said.

The discussion for providing wireless Internet around the city was to provide broadband Internet to areas of the city that aren’t adequately covered by wired Internet service providers.

During the meeting, councilmembers were concerned about being able to provide Internet to residence and businesses south of Kansas Highway 10.

In the end, the council decided it was better left for private businesses to provide the service if it was economically feasible for the business. But it did want to encourage those businesses to expand their coverage to underserved parts of the city.

On Tuesday, Lee Miller, president of Kansas Broadband Internet, a wireless Internet service provider, said their coverage of the city extended to Clearview City and beyond and would soon increase.

Officials from Radius Broadband, another wireless Internet service provider in the area could not be reached.

In other business the council:

• Unanimously approved pay ordinance No. 635.

• Unanimously approved to raise court and aquatic center fees.

• Unanimously tabled the vote on a resolution of intent for capital improvement project financing until the March 4 regular city council meeting.

• Unanimously approved the temporary use permit for the spring fling.

• Unanimously approved donating $500 to the De Soto Scout House.

• Unanimously approved the rezoning application for the home located on 33160 W. 83rd St., from business-central district to residential historic old town district.

• Unanimously accepted a bid and awarded a contract to from J.F. McGivern to repaint the aquatic center at a cost of $34,000.

• Unanimously directed staff to look for sponsors for new picnic benches along a proposed Riverfest Park trail. The benches would cost the sponsor $2,800, but the city would provide installation and a commemorative plaque.

• Unanimously approved the waiving of a $400 site plan application fee for the installation of a small, low-wattage wind turbine at Starside Elementary School.

• Directed, Mike Brungardt, city engineer, to seek bids on the 84th Street waterline project.

• Unanimously approved the transfer of the city’s solid waste disposal contract from Weldon Enterprise to Honey Creek Disposal Services Inc. Lloyd Weldon, owner of Weldon Enterprises will be retiring and transferring his business over to his son Kevin Weldon, owner of Honey Creek Disposal. Lloyd Weldon said there will be no change in service or in price, but existing trash containers will be exchanged Honey Creek Disposal containers.

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