At the November 15 Special Pocahontas County Commission meeting, Jenna Miller, of Spruce Knob/Seneca Rocks Telephone (SKSRT), asked the commission to fund the $72,500 local match for SKSRT’s “Line Extension Advancement and Development” (or LEAD) broadband grant application.
If SKSRT receives approval for this grant, it will provide broadband service to up to 145 addresses located on North Fork Loop, Lower Murphy Road and Powder Horn Lane in the Durbin area. Miller said the local match amount is based on $500 per address that would receive the service. The match is 13 percent of the total cost of the project. She emphasized this 13 percent local match is a better deal then most broadband grants which require a 25 percent local match. Miller said that SKSRT has already received approval to use the utility poles which would be needed for this project, and that will speed up the construction of the project, if it is approved.
Mike Holstine and Amanda Smarr both supported Miller’s request for commission support on this. Commissioner John Rebinski made the motion to provide the local match, adding that the money should be taken out of the $200,000 from the county’s American Rescue Plan money that the commission had already set aside to pay for local broadband grant matches.
Miller said the money would only be needed if the grant application is approved. The application will be submitted by November 17, but it will be a while before they find out if the grant is approved.
The LEAD grant is based on funds from the State of West Virginia.
In other business at the special meeting, the commission approved the hiring of Casandra Smith as a full-time employee in the County Clerk’s Office.