Plainfield voters approve broadband funding at annual Town Meeting

  • Voters listen as an article on funding salaries, stipends and expenses is read at the annual Town Meeting in Plainfield.  PHOTO BY FRAN RYAN

  • Erik Burcroff speaks in favor of a non-binding resolution to support HD. 2968 and SD. 1495 calling for the creation of a special commission relative to the seal and motto of the commonweath. PHOTO BY FRAN RYAN

For the Gazette
Published: 5/5/2019 3:33:11 PM

Plainfield annual Town Meeting

PLAINFIELD — Voters on Saturday approved funding to operate their new, town-owned broadband enterprise, putting Plainfield on its way to providing its own sustainable high-speed internet to the entire town by early 2020.

The article, calling for a total of $149,876 — $131,569 of which will come from the departmental receipts and $18,307 to be raised from taxes — was passed unanimously by 53 of the town’s 472 registered voters.

“Because this is the transition year, we will only generate partial revenue,” said Kimberly Longey, manager of Plainfield Broadband MLP.

Longey said that when the broadband network is up and running, the funding for salaries, stipends and expenses will be generated through service receipts.

“This is a community network,” Longey said. “Our sustainability is based on people taking service from us for TV and internet.”

According to Longey, 162 residents already have signed up for service, and they are hoping to get at least 110 more people to sign up.

“If we had 270 people, we would be super-sustainable,’ she said. “The maximum number of customers we can have is 367.”

There is now a big push to sign up residents for service; information is available at the library and online at whipcityfiber.com/plainfield.

Voters unanimously approved the proposed fiscal year 2020 operating budget of $2,396,079, which is an increase of $101,571 over the fiscal year 2019 operating budget of $2,294,508.

In addition, voters unanimously authorized the assessors to apply $100,000 of free cash to reduce the fiscal 2020 tax rate, and $45,883 to be transferred from free cash into the town’s stabilization fund.

As the town of Cummington did on Friday night, Plainfield voters also passed a nonbinding resolution in support of HD.2968 and SD.1495, calling for the creation of a special commission relative to the seal and motto of the commonwealth.

The seal, which depicts a sword being brandished over the head of a Native American person, has for some time been viewed as outdated and offensive.

“This has been in the making for the last 35 years, and this year I think it may finally happen,” Plainfield resident Erik Burcroff said of revisiting the state seal and motto.

The resolution was passed unanimously.




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