WATERLOO — A proposal to develop a taxpayer-funded municipal broadband communications system could go to voters this fall.
Waterloo City Council will on Monday consider setting a special election for September 13 on the issue. This is one of the two major decisions discussed by the council. The other is to set a goal for the city to be carbon-free in its electricity generation by 2050.
The 5:30 p.m. meeting is held in the Council Chambers at City Hall.
Voters would be asked in the proposed ballot question whether the city should enter into a loan agreement and issue general obligation principal loan notes of up to $20 million to pay for all or part of a fiber optic backbone and fiber to the premises (FTTP) broadband communication system. General obligation notes would be redeemed with property tax money.
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The backbone project will connect 100 miles of fiber optic cable to city facilities and is expected to cost $29.28 million. The FTTP project will connect broadband to homes in Waterloo, which is estimated at $86.38 million. The potential project has been under review by Magellan Advisors of Denver, Colorado since January 2020.
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The city’s so-called 24×7 Carbon-Free Electricity Community Goal aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, improve air quality, improve public health, attract business, create a growth of local employment and to strengthen energy security.
A resolution considered by council says the city has suffered the effects of climate change through high temperatures and extreme weather events such as record rainfall and flooding.
A 2018 United Nations report on climate change highlighted in city documents says that to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius, there must be a 45% reduction in greenhouse gases between 2010 and 2030. This would allow Waterloo to achieve net zero impact. by 2050.
The city would achieve this by partnering with utilities, businesses, residents and community stakeholders to identify an approach that could meet emissions targets.
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In other scheduled matters, counsel:
Hold seven public hearings – including one on the demolition of five homes near downtown. A resolution that could be approved at the meeting recommends awarding a tender to Lehman Trucking and Excavating, Inc., of Waterloo in the amount of $70,521 for the demolition of 928 Mulberry St., 1526 E. Fourth St., 1527 E. Fourth St., 307 Sumner St., and 335 Sumner St. Other public hearings include those on the Fourth Street Bridge and Dam lighting project and the city’s asphalt pavement program. Consider a resolution to purchase BriefCam, a surveillance camera system, for $120,642. The resolution indicates that the purchase is in conjunction with the “Smart City” project. Surveillance equipment allows video to be searched and reviewed in minutes, enabling immediate response to situations of concern. There are currently only stop signs on Hammond.
Prior to the meeting, there will be a council business session on animal control operations at 4:15 p.m. The Housing Authority Board will meet at 4:45 p.m. and the Finance Committee will meet at 5:10 p.m.
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