I hope that everyone had a great holiday, and that you are able to stay off the roads today – I don’t know about you, but our dirt road would have been a great place to play some hockey this morning. We’re long overdue with providing an update on the Lyndon Township broadband efforts, so I wanted to take this snow day opportunity to do so.
For some of you this may be your first post from me – my name is Ben Fineman, and I live in Lyndon Township on Beeman Road. I’m volunteering as the President of the Michigan Broadband Cooperative to help build broadband in our community.
Since we saw many of you at the town hall meeting back in June, we have not been idle. We heard clearly that we needed more information on real driveway lengths throughout the township, and on whether the broadband millage was likely to be approved by Lyndon Township residents. To that end we sent out a survey with summer taxes, the results of which can be found here. In summary, driveways are significantly shorter than the estimate we were using (330’ average vs 600’), and 68% of residents support the millage at the estimated 3.7 mils over twenty years. Based on this information we had been moving forward to target a ballot initiative for the May election.
In the meantime, our neighbor Sharon Township has been working to conduct their own broadband feasibility study with a different firm, CCG Consulting, and some of us from Lyndon have been participating in that. We’ve learned a lot since we first did the Lyndon study, and that experience has been helpful toward getting a better result in Sharon Township. Similarly the Sharon Township study has been helpful for us – this new consulting firm is providing cost estimates that we believe to be more accurate based on their methodology. The good news is they’ve taken a look at the report for Lyndon Township, and suggest that the cost estimates are too high, by as much as 15%.
The Lyndon Township residents who are working on this project, including myself, are very concerned that we put forward the best possible solution for our community. While it seems that the 3.7 mil amount would likely pass, we believe it is important to have a cost estimate that is as accurate as possible before we take the project to a vote. Because of this we have made the decision to defer the ballot initiative to the August election to allow time to update the cost estimate with the refined information and methodology that we now have.
While any delay is disappointing, we believe that three months is a small price to pay to get the best possible result for our community. We’re more confident than ever that we’re moving down the right path toward achieving much needed broadband access throughout the township. Please stay tuned for upcoming volunteer opportunities (and sign up as a volunteer on the website if you’d like), and don’t hesitate to email me if you have any questions.