MINOT — Selectmen on Monday approved a broadband feasibility study to be conducted by Casco Bay Advisors of North Yarmouth, which specializes in telecommunications projects.

The $12,500 expense will be paid from the town’s undesignated fund balance.

Town Administrator Danielle Loring said selectmen “felt that this funding source was appropriate because it was more than covered by” the Spectrum franchise agreement funds, which total more than $15,000.

Loring added that these funds are designated as revenue in the municipal budget.

Brian Lippold of Casco Bay Advisors told selectmen the report would evaluate the broadband assets and infrastructure within the town, explore opportunities and capabilities, and identify the gaps in coverage so a provider would understand the costs involved.

The information would be helpful for leveraging funds for expansion through programs such as the ConnectME grants or encourage other providers to develop the area. The study will be completed by December.

Loring said selectmen felt the town needed to act in response to a recent survey that cited lack of broadband internet service in Minot.

The town will also be conducting another survey to learn whether residents are interested in the Voluntary Municipal Farm Support Program. It offers property tax reimbursements on working farmland if owners commit their land in a 20-year conservation easement that would prohibit development.

The state program provides a framework, but communities can modify specifics based on local desires, including imposing a larger acreage minimum, a higher minimum income, a greater tax reimbursement up to 100 percent, and allowing access for hunting and other recreational use.

The survey will be sent to those in the Farmland Tax Use Program, those with land meeting the minimum 5-acre lot size for the program and through target marketing on Facebook.

Selectmen hope to form a committee that includes a diverse mix of residents to study the program to see if the town should participate. The committee will be chaired by Planning Board member Candace Gilpatric and include Selectpersons Lisa Cesare and Brittany Hemond.

In other business, the board tabled a decision on choosing a recipient for the Spirit of America Award because they wanted to look at the historical data for the award and evaluate any potential recipients.

Selectmen will schedule discussions regarding town employee benefits and the possibility of expanding insurance coverage to include family care.


Comments are not available on this story.