Adams County Economic Development Specialist Harlan Lawson asked for help to distribute a survey that will help accurately pinpoint which areas of the county are unserved or underserved by the internet. “We are trying to fill the gap that exists in internet availability, especially outside of our boroughs,” he told members of the Adams County Council of Governments (ACCOG) at their monthly meeting Thursday.
A feasibility task force created in September developed the online and print survey that will also be delivered randomly by post. “We’re relying on as many people as possible to help us to get this out. It is a very important part of this plan,” Lawson added.
Lawson’s comments were made during an instructional broadband presentation, covering the terminology, explaining required broadband speeds, and describing the delivery system. Providing service to the individual customer, he said, “is the challenge.”
He stressed that it is crucial for anyone who completes the survey to provide their name and address. Lawson said the accuracy of Federal Communications Commission (FCC) maps could be improved with this data, which means the county might obtain more money for the infrastructure.
The feasibility study is being conducted in partnership with Franklin County. The contractor is Virginia-Design Nine Inc. The study’s goal is to provide solutions to spotty internet coverage in the county. Providing data that indicates a need for better internet service allows the county to apply for the cost of doing the work to resolve the issue.
In other board business, Adams County Commissioner Randy Phiel reported that no tax increase is expected at the county level this year and that it is “fiscally in very good health.” He gave a shout-out to the staff and department of directors for the difficult decisions that had to be made to achieve this goal. The tentative 2023 budget can be found on the county website, www.adamscounty.us.
The commissioners also announced American Rescue Plan Act Funds are being allocated to local municipalities, fire departments, and emergency medical services providers. Distributions are based on liquid fuel revenues lost to the COVID-19 pandemic. Nearly $600,000 will be awarded to municipalities. Fire departments and emergency service providers will receive $250,000.
$5 million in ARPA funds is still available for large-scale, high-impact projects. Applications will be accepted until Nov. 21 with a minimum cost of $250,000 per project. Pending committee review of the applications, award recipients will likely receive funding for the projects within the first quarter of the new year.
ACCOG president David Bolton announced that no candidates had been nominated from the boroughs to serve on the ACCOG executive committee. Bolton will be stepping down and replaced by vice-president Terry Scholle.
Judith Cameron Seniura is a freelance reporter. She began her journalism career in the early ‘70s and has written for newspapers, magazines, and other media in Ontario, Canada, Alaska, Michigan, Nebraska, San Antonio, Maryland, and Pennsylvania.