Wi-Fi for Downtown Vicksburg?

wi fi guys
Steve and Andrew DeVries.

By Sue Moore

As part of the ongoing strategic planning for the village, Trustee Colin Bailey quizzed the village council on how much wi-fi Internet coverage they think is appropriate for downtown businesses and what areas it should cover.

Representatives from a Vicksburg company, Digital Example, were there to provide cost estimates for either configuration. Andrew and Steve DeVries felt their company could provide village-wide coverage from the village water tower if all businesses and residents wanted to have access. They could also go with just an installation for the downtown if that was the council’s desire.

They should drive visitors to the businesses first and foremost and make this a part of the Downtown Development Authority (DDA) according to Kathleen Hoyle, the authority’s director. “We could become the Internet café for downtown,” she remarked. However, Karen Ney, who was in the audience at a subsequent council meeting, objected to this kind of a service being paid for by taxpayers’ money.

Bill Adams, village president, said the council agrees wholeheartedly with her. He said the hope right now is to identify the steps it would take to do the project, including costs. What is needed is market research, partnerships, security identification and an understanding of performance speeds, geographic range, capacity, funding, and liability information. The question becomes who is driving all of this planning, what is the business model, and when would there be enough information to decide, according to Adams. He charged the committee that Bailey heads to come back to the council with a plan.

Pavilion Still an Issue?

Once again, the council weighed in on siding the pavilion to keep it from being damaged by water each year. This time, it was the east side that is exposed to the weather that was debated. “The lumber has been 90 percent cut and the money already spent, but the previous resolution in December did not include a motion to do the same to the east side.

Bill Oswalt, president of the Vicksburg Foundation which funded much of the construction, asked the council to please err on the safe side and complete the project. He said the Foundation was proud to have had a major role in the building of the pavilion.

The go ahead was given to clad the east side, probably in the spring, with Trustees Bailey and Chris Newman voting no.

Sunset Lake Expenditure

A request to continue $6,000 funding per year for weed control on Sunset Lake was questioned by Trustee James Earl. Ron Smith, trustee who lives on the lake and is the Sunset Lake Association president, said that the village owns a portion of the land abutting the lake. If the lake is not treated and cared for, its quality will be compromised and that will have a negative impact on the community, he contended. The total cost of treatment each year is $30,000 and paid for through a property assessment of those living on the lake. But Earl wanted to know why the village is responsible for such a big share of the cost. President Adams moved to table the issue until more data is collected.

Audit report

“All recommendations from last year were implemented this year. There were no disagreements of difficulties that management experienced,” according to David Havera, the lead auditor from the accounting company BDO, in his report to the village council. “The [village budget] is definitely moving in the right direction.”

Maintenance Code Voted Upon

The village also moved to implement the Michigan Property Maintenance Code to replace the national BOCA code. The new ordinance applies to all commercial, industrial and residential buildings and structures within the village limits. Garbage and rubbish disposal is included under the code, which provides a tool for the village to better enforce any code violations, according to Trustee Newman.

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