Even as politics and citizen rancor swirled around the Louisa County Broadband Authority, the committee’s first meeting of the month proceeded amicably enough.
The new voting member, Jim Ogg, wasn’t actually allowed to vote at the Feb. 7 meeting. But the Mineral district appointee, who actually lives in the Patrick Henry district, sat with his fellow authority members and participated fully in the group’s discussion.
Either the authority or the Louisa County Board of Supervisors will have to change the authority’s bylaws in order for Ogg to vote, since the group was founded on the principle that each supervisor appoints a member from his own district.
A number of citizens said during the public comment period at the authority’s meeting and the supervisors’ own meeting on Feb. 5 that they disagreed with Ogg’s appointment by Supervisor Duane Adams (Mineral district). Supervisor Fitzgerald Barnes (Patrick Henry district) has also voiced strong opposition to Ogg’s appointment.
But Mary Johnson, broadband authority chair, said last week that she welcomes Ogg’s input.
Adams and Ogg are skeptical of the authority’s project to build wireless towers to carry high-speed internet signals to residents and businesses. Last week both men said their concern at this point is that the authority needs to be careful not to give people unreasonable expectations.
Ogg criticized a revised vision statement drafted by the authority’s consultants, Wide Open Networks, that suggests the authority will be able to extend internet to homes and businesses in the future via fiber-optic lines. That may be possible at some point, he said, but it confuses people to advertise it today.
“It’s like dangling sweet carrots when you don’t have the ability to deliver,” Ogg said.
(This is a partial story. Read full article on page 7 of The Central Virginian’s Feb. 15, 2017 issue)