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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