Red Wing Fiber Countdown – 92 days out from City Council Approval of a Referendum?

I am assuming a referendum regardless of Hiawatha Broadband’s success in securing stimulus funds.  The City might develop a Plan A if Hiawatha is approved, and a Plan B if not.  Also, the City certainly could wait on moving on Fiber until after a decision on Hiawatha’s application.  If that were the case, I would assume a Spring 2011 referendum at the earliest.  (There are ways to avoid a referendum, but that will be left for another post.)

There are also political reasons for keeping this off the November ballot.  Candidates for office  might be able to avoid taking a firm stand on municipal fiber if the referendum is not on the November ballot and the decision is postponed until Spring 2011.  Also, proponents of municipal fiber might decide that they have a far better chance of passing the referendum if the vote comes in the spring when voter turnout is much lower as compared to a general election.  Think school district referendums.

Here are the Fiber Task Force minutes from June 2007 – November 2007. Check the Fiber category to the right of this post in Categories to get to the October 2008 Fiber Feasibility Study already posted.

As the study and minutes are now rather dated, I hope the public gets updates soon from the City or the Fiber Task Force as to technology changes, legal issues, etc., that may impact decisions.

With 4 City Council seats and 3 School Board seats up for election this Fall, Fiber might become the defining issue for many voters. Another issue, trust.

My desire is that the issue of municipal fiber in Red Wing gets a fair hearing on the merits.

Note: As stated in the comments, the Council will have to approve a final resolution by Sept. 14th to get a referendum on the ballot for November.  With the time it takes to approve a resolution, the Council might have to pass the initial resolution in support of Fiber at the August 9th Council meeting.


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Filed under Accountability, Economic Development, Internet & Technology, Minnesota, Red Wing, Red Wing City Council

5 responses to “Red Wing Fiber Countdown – 92 days out from City Council Approval of a Referendum?

  1. sueinmn

    If I understood the reading of the Feasibility report, a referendum would be required by law, if any switching is involved (phone, voice, data). You could only imagine that a project this large, that the Council could only benefit if they had the citizens on board. A referendum could be the only way to know how the citizens all feel about this. Some cities have been very successful with this type of a project and others have found it to be a costly learning experience. Let the voters decide……..


    Any municipality shall have the right to own and operate a telephone exchange within its own borders, subject to the provisions of this chapter. It may construct such plant, or purchase an existing plant by agreement with the owner, or where it cannot agree with the owner on price, it may acquire an existing plant by condemnation, as hereinafter provided, but in no case shall a municipality construct or purchase such a plant or proceed to acquire an existing plant by condemnation until such action by it is authorized by a majority of the electors voting upon the proposition at a general election or a special election called for that purpose, and if the proposal is to construct a new exchange where an exchange already exists, it shall not be authorized to do so unless 65 percent of those voting thereon vote in favor of the undertaking. A municipality that owns and operates a telephone exchange may enter into a joint venture as a partner or shareholder with a telecommunications organization to provide telecommunications services within its service area.

  3. Carol Duff

    Actually September 14th is the last day to get anything on the November ballot.

  4. Anonymous

    Thanks for the Fiber Feasibility Study: I’ll go through and read it tomorrow and this blog: It helps!

    – Nick

  5. Pingback: Fiber initiative in Red Wing: Follow Kents blog! This is a right for you too know Red Wing! « The Jamboree's Blog Site: Dedicated to those friends/family and my love Heidi!

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