Archive for Wednesday, February 24, 2010

City Council passes on wireless Internet proposal

February 24, 2010

Upon further review, the De Soto City Council has decided not to move forward on a plan to provide citywide wireless Internet service to the community.

Last Thursday, the council agreed the plan would be too expensive and require too much of city staff. The conclusion came after a committee that included City Administrator Pat Guilfoyle, the city’s technology consultant, staffers and Council members Mitra Templin and Rick Walker met with Time Warner on a proposal to put equipment on various city towers to provide wireless Internet service to those areas not served by cable.

Templin summed up the committee’s findings by asking the other council members, “does the city really want to get into another utility business?”

Guilfoyle said it would cost the city a considerable upfront capital investment to make the service viable.

A $10,000 to $50,000 feasibility study first be needed to see if the proposal would work. If that was positive, another $150,000 to $300,000 would be needed for the equipment and infrastructure. This is without accounting for the amount of man-hours and equipment costs needed to maintain the system.

With that investment, the committee 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.

However, council members agreed providing Internet south of Kansas Highway 10 was important to the city’s economic development.

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 its 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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