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County approves broadband contract

County approves broadband contract

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Orangeburg County Council unanimously approved a $2.4 million contract for the third phase of its broadband project during its meeting last week. The contract will be with Columbia-based Edwards Telecommunications.

The third phase covers the area from Duncan Chapel, southeast of Bowman, to Firefighter Lane. The company will use 171 miles of fiber and the project will impact 902 customers, Orangeburg County Administrator Bill Clark said.

Seventy-five percent of the project will be paid for with a U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Utilities Service grant and the remaining 25 percent will be paid for with proceeds from the Orangeburg County capital project sales tax.

Future phases will bring broadband to the Holly Hill and Eutawville area.

The project’s second phase covered the Cattle Creek area and the first phase covered Rowesville. Officials say Rowesville should have broadband in place by year’s end.

Also, council unanimously approved spending about $1.4 million to purchase a new console for the emergency operations center for 911 traffic and for about 290 800-megahertz radios for the Orangeburg County Fire District.

Orangeburg County Deputy Administrator Harold Young said the current console, which is 20 years old, is quickly becoming obsolete as parts are becoming harder to find.

The service contract for the radios will be with Kelly Communications.

The county will pay for the upgrades in monthly payments over nine years at a 3.3 percent interest rate. Payments begin July 1, 2013.

About $500,000 of the upgrade will go toward the console.

In other business:

* Council approved a $23,325 bid from Sauder Manufacturing to replace the seating in the Orangeburg-Calhoun Regional Law Enforcement Complex courtroom with bench seats.

* The Orangeburg County Chamber of Commerce’s Junior Leadership program 2012 class gave an overview of its year. The class, which consists of local high school juniors, had 36 students from 12 different schools.

* Council gave first reading, by title only, to the 2012-2013 budget ordinance.

* Council read a resolution honoring the Wilkinson High School class of 1962 as it celebrates its 50th reunion. A large number of its members played a role in the Civil Rights Movement.

* Council appointed Linda Keith Hightower to serve on the YMCA Advisory Council for District 7.

* Entered into executive session to discuss contractual matters involving water and sewer operations and an intergovernmental agreement.

Contact the writer: gzaleski@timesanddemocrat.com or 803-533-5551.

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