MINOT —  Absentee ballots are available as the residents prepare to vote March 12 raising money to bring broadband internet service to underserved parts of town. 

Voters will be asked to appropriate $100,000 from surplus to serve as a ConnectME Authority Grant match. The town is partnering with FirstLight to expand broadband service to underserved parts of the town and will cover about 50% of the residences that do not have adequate internet access. 

A public hearing was held Feb 8. No further hearings are planned, but information about the referendum is posted to the town Facebook page and is available on the town website at minotme.org/broadband. The postings include a link to a video of the public hearing. 

The ConnectME Authority voted last week to open the next round of funding applications town officials will need to submit in April. 

“Which means having the town commitment for its share of funding secured in March is critical,” Colleen J. Quint, chairwoman of the committee on the broadband issue, said. “This is a great opportunity for the town to bring broadband to about half the homes currently lacking internet access, and by using undesignated fund balance we can cover the town’s share of the project without needing to raise new funds or impact taxes of the townspeople.   

“Now,” Quint said, “we need to make sure folks know that the referendum is on March 12th and to encourage them to come out to vote!” 

In elections, there are two three-year terms for selectmen. Incumbent Lisa Cesare and newcomer Matthew Callahan are running unopposed. Callahan’s father, Daniel Jr., is not seeking re-election. 

There are also two three-year terms for the Regional School Unit 16 board of directors, for which no one is running. The seats are held by Michael Downing and Michael Lacasse.

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