Upson County is taking the steps to enhance the broadband capabilities of the county so that it may better serve the existing industries and citizens as well to help recruit new prospects to the community. Thomaston-Upson Industrial Development Authority Director Kyle Fletcher and Upson County IT Director Robert Haney spoke to the Board of Commissioners at their meeting Tuesday to bring them up to date on the broadband feasibility study that has taken place over the last year.
Upson County signed on in early 2012 to be part of a study with Heard, Meriwether, and Troup counties to determine what areas are in the greatest need of better broadband communications. Haney noted that during that study it was revealed that what is needed most in the area is better local distribution of the fiber optic network to customers. He continued stating the county looked into several methods of broadband service delivery and found a Y-max wireless network which offers high bandwidth broadband will work best for the area.
Upson and the other three counties are in the process of forming the West Central Georgia Broadband Joint Development Authority to help with the acquisition of grant funding for broadband projects. Fletcher noted this will be a great tool to help enhance Upson County’s broadband capabilities by allowing the county to continue to serve the existing industries, but at the same time recruit new prospects.
The make-up of the joint development authority is modeled after a region in North Georgia which has successfully done a project like this before. County Attorney Ed Trice stated he has been involved with drafting a resolution to establish the West Central Georgia Broadband Joint Development Authority and he feels it will work well for the community. The authority will consist of a five-member board with one representative from each of the four counties and one person from the citizenry at large. He told the board they would have to approve the resolution once it is complete.
Commissioner Steve Hudson told the board the beer and wine application for Mr. Ankit Patel for the Kinjalben Corporation was withdrawn by the applicant, however action still needed to be taken since the issue was tabled at the last meeting of 2012. Hudson made a motion to deny the application, to which the rest of the board agreed. The proposed location for Mr. Patel’s operation was on Highway 74 between Old Alabama Road and Harvey Street. Several citizens of the area spoke in December against the business selling beer and wine, stating it was a residential neighborhood and there was not a need for another store selling alcohol in the area. Rev. Claude Turner spoke during the Jan. 22 meeting, stating he appreciated the withdrawal of the application because he feels the community has shown they do not want this in their neighborhood. He also noted he appreciated the community standing up for what they believe in.
EMS Director Richard Lee gave the board the quarterly EMS report, stating that call volume is close to setting a record high this month due to the many cases of the flu going around. Lee noted that many people have been trying to handle having the flu on their own instead of going to the doctor’s office because they are so full, but some have put off seeing a doctor for too long and have gotten very sick and therefore called the EMS.
In other business, the board selected Carol’s Consulting and Grant Management to be the grant administrator for the CDBG (Community Development Block Grant).
At the urging of Commissioner Ralph Ellington, the board is looking at dates to host a series of town hall meetings to discuss a mixed drink referendum for the county. Ellington stated this is something that he has heard about his whole life and he feels it is time to do something one way or the other. The Times will list the dates of the meetings as soon as they become available.
Commission Chairman Rusty Blackston is asking the community to consider applying to be on the Office Building Authority or the Thomaston-Upson Transportation Committee. Applications for either board can be picked up in the Commissioner’s Office, located in Suite 110 of the Government complex at 106 East Lee Street.