The City of Franklin is transferring ownership of the city's fiber optic network to the Franklin Electric Plant Board for $2.5 million.
The Franklin City Commission unanimously approved a resolution authorizing the sell and transfer, effective July 1, of all assets of the city's fiber optic system to the Electric Plant Board at the Commission's June 8 meeting.
The resolution said the Electric Plant Board is better equipped to handle the operation and maintenance of the fiber optic system.
The fiber optics system provides reliable, high-speed internet to more than 40 industrial and business customers in the city. Its used as a recruiting tool to attract new industry and business.
Mayor Ronnie Clark said discussion of the transfer has been on going for months and this is not a "knee jerk" action.
Clark said the money the city will receive for the sell will go to pay costs associated with installing the 32-mile long fiber optic network and retire bonds issued to construct the system. He said the city "is not making any money" on the transaction.
Electric Plant Board General Manager Bill Borders said bonds were sold by the EPB to fund the purchase. Borders said the fiber optic system will be a "stand alone business" and will not effect customers' electric bills. Borders said the Tennessee Valley Authority, also known was TVA, does not allow electric bills to be effected by actions such as being taken by the Franklin EPB to purchase the fiber optic network.
The Electric Plant Board gets its power supply from TVA.
"It makes more sense for the EPB to run it (fiber optics network) than city government," Borders said. He added that utilities operate fiber optic systems in other cities.
City Commissioner Mason Barnes who is a member of the Electric Plant Board governing board said he thinks the fiber optic system "will do well under EPB guidance."
The EPB is owned by the city, but governed by a separate board of directors.
The Electric Plant Board began looking into the possibility of a fiber optics network in Franklin in the 1990s. The city obtained a $1 million federal grant that required matching funds to help pay for the project. The fiber optic
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system was completed in early 2013.
Other action was taken at the City Commission meeting related to the sell of the fiber optic network. The Commission approved adding the Electric Plant Board as a corecipient of the U.S. Economic Development Grant used help fund constructing of the fiber optic network. Also approved was a revised agreement with Windstream as the primary internet service provider on the fiber optic network at a monthly rate of $1,800. And, the Commission heard first-reading of an ordinance issuing $650,000 in general obligation notes to fund operation, maintenance and expansion of the fiber optic network by the EPB. The city is not obligated to make payments on the notes unless the EPB is unable to make payments.
Borders said Wayne Goodrum has been hired by the Electric Plant Board to manage the fiber optics network.
The following is a press release issued by the city on the sell of the fiber optic network to the Electric Plant Board -
"The Franklin Municipal Fiber Network is transferring ownership to the Franklin Electric Plant Board, effective July 1, 2015. After two years of being fully operational, the City of Franklin has made the decision to transfer ownership of the advanced fiber optic system to EPB who is better equipped to handle the operations and maintenance of the network.
When the fiber network project originated, City leadership determined that there were inadequate broadband resources for the community's business and institutional needs. The City acquired the funding necessary to build a state-of —the-art fiber network to support area businesses and better position the community for continued economic growth. The construction of the 32-mile, all-fiber optic backbone network linking the area's commercial business districts and three industrial parks was completed in early 2013. Since that time, the City has expanded the network and connected several businesses and industries with its high-speed Internet and data services.
On Monday, June 8, 2015, the Franklin City Commission voted by resolution to sell and transfer all of the tangible and intangible assets of its fiber optic network to the Electric Plant Board of the City of Franklin for $2.5 million. EPB will assume day-to-day operations of the network on July 1, 2015. Notices about the transfer and change in operational management will be sent to the City's broadband customers in the coming days.
When presented with the opportunity to acquire the City's fiber network, EPB's Board and management recognized the opportunity to utilize this network to support its electric utility operations as well as continue to grow and expand the broadband services to the community.
‘This network will be an excellent fit for us operationally, and will enable us to expand our role in serving our customers with the most robust broadband services available. We have big plans to add new services and grow our broadband customer base,' said General Manager of EPB Bill Borders.
Mayor Ronnie Clark added, ‘Broadband is now the new utility, and who better to deliver those services than the local infrastructure experts, EPB. They have the manpower and the equipment, as well as the community's confidence in providing reliable utility service and exceptional local customer support.'
Both Mayor Clark and Mr. Borders lauded the work of Ms. Tammie Carey, the City's Fiber Services Manager, who tirelessly guided the development of the network since its inception."
Also at the meeting, the Commission approved awarding $45,000 to community service entities during the 2014 - 2015 fiscal year. The BRADD Aging Program received $2,000; Gallery on the Square (Simpson County Guild of Artists and Craftsmen), F-S Renaissance, F-S Human Rights Commission, Hope Harbor and Habitat for Humanity of Simpson County each received $5,000; Good Samaritan received $8,000 and On Track Program received $10,000. The funding was recommended after it was determined the city had some $155,295 surplus in the current budget before the funds were awarded.
City Finance Director Shaunna Cornwell was appointed as the city's Alcohol Beverage Control Administrator on an interim basis. The appointment was needed due to the recent resignation of Daniel Head. Interviews are underway to fill the position on a permanent basis.
The Commission gave its formal support to the Simpson County Historical Society's application for a historical marker recognizing Carolyn Moore who was the first female Kentucky state senator. The marker would be on the north side of East Cedar Street across from the County Clerk's Office contingent upon recommendations from Simpson Fiscal Court and Franklin-Simpson Renaissance.
Approval was given to award $29,600 to Danny Moody with Restoration Aid for restoration of windows at City Hall. Windows at City Hall needing restoration, mainly on the second-floor, are original windows and are showing signs of aging such as dry-rot, flaking paint and have missing sills and trim pieces.
Also approved was the internal purchase of a 2002 Dodge Ram pick up truck from Franklin Police for $2,100. The police department was awarded the vehicle through the courts as a drug related asset seizure. Proceeds from the sale will be placed in the police department's drug forfeiture account. The vehicle will be used by the city's public works department primarily for mosquito spraying. The $2,100 being paid for the truck is the vehicle's fair market value.
Commissioners heard first-reading of an ordinance amending the city's 2014 - 2015 budget to reflect actual revenue and expenditures during the current fiscal year that ends June 30. No vote is taken on first-reading of a city ordinance.
Approximate changes in the amended budget include in the general fund increases of $268,000 in revenue and $181,000 in appropriations; in the utility fund increases in revenue of $202,000 and $157,000 in appropriations; in the sanitation fund increases of $26,000 in revenue and $18,000 in appropriations; in the fiber optic fund a decrease of $20,000 in both revenue and appropriations; in the municipal aid fund increases of $2,000 in revenue and $6,000 in appropriations; in the cemetery fund decreases of $1,000 in revenue and $2,000 in appropriations; there was also a drop of $800 revenue in the perpetual care fund with no appropriations in the fund.
Also, the Commission heard a presentation from Mickey Lewis, II, Family Resource Assistant at Simpson Elementary, about a dance camp with the theme "Dance Away From Bullying" being held Saturday, June 13 at the Boys & Girls Club of Franklin from 10 a.m. until 1 p.m. The camp is for ages seven and up; however, children age 10 and under must be accompanied by an adult.
In addition to music and dancing the event will feature an appearance by the Bowling Green Bandits basketball team, food, F.L.Y. gear, presentations by police officers and firefighters, vendors and guest speakers. Also, two new bicycles will be given away.
The event is sponsored by Family Care Counseling with a portion of the proceeds benefitting the Boys & Girls Club and Simpson County Schools' Family Resource Center.