The Wahkiakum County Eagle - Established as The Skamokawa Eagle in 1891

Commissioners OK hike in broadband support


November 8, 2018

Wahkiakum County commissioners by a 2-1 vote Tuesday approved an increase in the match they'll provide for a feasibility study of county wide broadband capacity.

A community-wide group spearheaded by Wahkiakum PUD Commissioner Gene Healy has formed to seek broadband. Recently the group asked the PUD to apply for grant funding to undertake the feasibility study, and the group asked Wahkiakum County to guarantee the local match for the grant, which could total as much as $75,000, depending on the scope of work involved.

Commissioners had approved a match of $12,500 at a previous meeting, but on Tuesday, PUD General Manager David Tramblie asked that the match guarantee be increased $4,167 to a total of $16,667. The initial match was based on an incorrect understanding of how the grantor accounted for spending.

The increase would yield $67,000 in grant funding, he said, and the original match would only generate $50,000.

Commissioners Dan Cothren and Mike Backman advanced a motion to increase the match as requested.

However, Commissioner Blair Brady opposed the move, saying he would have liked to have a more thorough accounting of the grant finances before voting. He added that commissioners haven't finished the 2019 budgets, so they don't have a clear understanding of future county revenue and thus, whether or not they could afford the match.

"I would like to have a piece of paper in front of me showing all the numbers and the effect of not granting this," Brady said. "It bothers me that we have to come up with another $4,167.

"Not knowing where our budget fully stands at this time, I oppose it," Brady said. "I support the $12,500, but when I don't have accurate numbers in front of me, I have a problem."

If approved, work on the study could start in 2019 and last two years, Gene Healy commented.


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