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Montezuma County Goes Forward With Broadband, Still On Fence Over Sales Tax

Marvin Nauman
Creative Commons

The Montezuma County commissioners are moving forward with plans to provide broadband countywide, but have not decided whether to ask voters for a sales tax to pay for its construction or for other services jeopardized by an expected revenue shortfall.

On Monday, the board heard from IT director Jim McClain that if there is a broadband tax, a taxing authority would have to be created. The City of Cortez’s Rick Smith said using Empire Electric poles to string the fiber would mean reworking or replacing many poles that are not compliant with code requirements. The commissioners told their attorney to work on a ballot question authorizing the county to provide telecommunications, a prerequisite for launching the project. A phone survey is being conducted to determine community support and a feasibility study due next month should provide a cost estimate.

Gail Binkly is a career journalist who has worked for the Colorado Springs Gazette and Cortez Journal. She is currently a freelance writer as well as the editor of the Four Corners Free Press, based in Cortez.
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