City Gets Higher Than Expected Bill for Fiber

Free WiFi in downtown Warsaw?
It could be coming soon, the Warsaw Redevelopment Commission heard at its meeting Monday as it reviewed an amended claim from Warsaw Fiber.
Warsaw Fiber laid fiber optic lines  downtown between summer 2015 and February 2016. Due to some revisions from the city, Warsaw Fiber needed to deviate from its original plan, which impacted the cost.
In the original agreement between the City of Warsaw and Warsaw Fiber, City Planner Jeremy Skinner said the Commission’s portion of the original estimated cost was $21,000 – or 60 percent of $35,000. With the changes, the Commission’s portion is $38,613 of the actual cost of $64,355.
Commission President Tim Meyer said, “That’s almost double. That’s quite a difference.”
Skinner said a lot of the cost has to do with the fiber going underground instead of on utility poles. The city felt it was better for it to go underground. He said the city also felt its portion would be around $35,000 anyway because of how complicated it was to put fiber downtown with all the infrastructure already in place.
“It doesn’t necessarily concern me that it’s that much more because I think it was going to be a lot more complicated than they ever understood in the first place. I think the bigger thing is accomplishing what we wanted, which was to give an incentive for downtown businesses to have access to this better fiber connectivity than they would’ve without it,” Skinner said.
If they hadn’t done this, Skinner said the city would still be paying for it because the city would have paid for it to be built to city hall, and that could have cost at least $21,000.
“And this way, we not only get it to city hall for our use, which we’re working on to connect our phones and our Internet to the fiber, but it also provides it to downtown businesses at a reduced cost,” he continued explaining.
Fifteen businesses already have tied on to Warsaw Fiber, Skinner said, with more waiting for their current Internet contracts to expire.
Commission member Mike Klondaris asked if the city would recoup any of its costs from the businesses that join on.
“It does not. The intent was to use it as an incentive for them to locate downtown,” Skinner responded. “If they’re downtown, they have the added availability of a reduced cost and better service.”
It’s also one of the city’s goals to provide free WiFi downtown and having Warsaw Fiber’s lines will allow it to do that, Skinner stated.
“It will be restricted so you’re not going on and downloading and watching movies downtown, but for someone who’s doing business downtown … they can use it to check their email and send documents,” Skinner said.
The city is discussing allowing users more WiFi access downtown for a small charge, so they could download or watch movies if they wanted, he said.
Skinner said the cost was worth it for what the city is getting.
The Commission approved the amended Warsaw Fiber claim, along with the other following claims: Bayview Appraisals, $200; Huntington National Bank, $250; and NIPSCO, $1,638.75.
It also approved an agreement between the city and John G. Powell for him to farm 53 acres in the northwest corner of the northwest section of Section 31 in Plain Township. The property is known as the Kerlin Farm Property of The City of Warsaw.
Powell is renting the land for $190 per acre, with $5,035 due May 1 and $5,035 due Nov. 1. Skinner said this may be the last year of the agreement because the city wants to get Phase II of the Tech Park started, which will include sanitary sewer and road.
The next meeting will be at 4 p.m. June 6 in the City Council Chambers, City Hall.