Board receives update on broadband

Published 1:11 pm Saturday, May 21, 2022

The Cumberland County Board of Supervisors met for its monthly meeting on Tuesday, May 10.

The County Administrator, Derek L. Stamey, gave an update on the broadband project that the Board of Supervisors approved in the April meeting.

The County is currently partnering with Firefly and Kinex to bring broadband to Cumberland businesses and residents. The hope is that by 2026 the county has 90% to 95% coverage.

The cost of this project is $15,839,060, with only $586,250 or 3.7% coming from the County. Most of the funding came through Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act (CARES) and American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding. The project will consist of approximately 380 miles of fiber total and 4,416 total passings, or premises able to be served.

According to Stamey, from Route 60 to the James River will be covered by Firefly and the gaps toward the west will be picked up by Kinex. The first 250 miles of the project will be in Prince Edward and Lunenburg counties in an effort to meet Federal Communications Commission requirements.

According to Board Chairman Brian Stanley, he recently moved to a home covered by Firefly and is impressed with the coverage and its Wi-Fi calling.

“We have zero cellular services where I live, and this gives us absolutely reliable cellular calling,” he said. “So, that helps our citizens in case of an emergency and working from home and just any number of things. In my experience, even during the storm, we didn’t lose service.”

In other business:

• The Board voted to appropriate funds received through the fiscal year 2018 Local Law Enforcement Block grant in the amount of $1,734.00 to the Sheriff’s budget to offset costs that are in accordance with the grant guidelines.

• The County received a Certificate of No Objection for the redistricting from Virginia’s Attorney General. This is in light of the new boundaries staying within the ideal population size and showing no discrimination based on race, language or ethnicity.

• The Board approved a contract with Emergency Services Solutions Inc. (ESS) for the purpose of providing emergency services staffing that will serve all of Cumberland County. The contract includes staffing at the current level which is one full-time 24-hour crew and one part-time 12- hour crew.

• The Board approved the motion for Chanda Giles on the Crossroads Community Services Board, Liz Dunn for the Department of Social Services Board and Glenn Mozingo to the Economic Development Authority.

• Davenport Public Finance gave an overview of the Public Safety Radio Project and refunding candidates. Due to the interest rates still being low, the County would be able to bring on the new radio system with little to no impact until 2028.

• The Board voted to hold a public hearing for CUP 22-02 SorenSpeed LLC at its June 14 meeting. This will discuss the Conditional Use Permit for an automotive repair shop in an existing garage building on the property of Eric Sorenson and Jade Williams located at 6535 Blenheim Road.

• A public hearing was held for the VDOT Secondary Six-Year Plan. This plan came after Virginia Department of Transportation Assistant Residency Engineer, Steve Snell, and the Board conducted a work session on April 5 to discuss what projects needed to be done the most. No one signed up to speak and the plan was approved unanimously.