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Cochrane Co-op Telephone (CCT) and Town of Milton weighing proposed plan for broadband online services
BUFFALO COUNTY

Cochrane Co-op Telephone (CCT) and Town of Milton weighing proposed plan for broadband online services

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The town of Milton in rural Fountain City was surveying residents to gauge interest in building a new town hall or collaborating with Cochrane Co-op Telephone (CCT) to make high-speed Internet, cable television and phone services available to everyone living in the town.

Milton sent out mail surveys to people across the town’s population of 550 residents to evaluate interest in projects or doing nothing at all.

The town board said it plans to hold a public meeting on Dec. 13 for residents to have a say in deciding which projects to possibly pursue in 2018.

Plans to move ahead using CapX2020 funds to build a new town hall on five acres of land Milton purchased along state Hwy. 88 south of C-FC School have been placed on hold for now.

Estimated cost of a new town hall, entry road and parking lot ranged from $400,000 to $500,000, according to the town board.

Milton has $600,000 in CapX2020 utility funds, but plan to allocate $200,000 of it as cost-share to the Fountain City Area Fire Association for a proposed new fire station at the former swimming pool property in Fountain City.

The fire association includes Fountain City and the towns of Milton, Cross and Buffalo. Cost of a new station was estimated at $750,000 to $800,000, according to the Milton Town Board.

Milton’s 25 percent cost-share of a new station was high priority. “We view this as an essential project and are planning to allocate an estimated $200,000 towards it,” the board says.

A fire station project might open the door to Milton using a community room in the building for holding Milton town meetings and voting, an alternative to spending money on a new town hall, the board says.

Cost of bringing fiber-optic broadband services to households throughout Milton was estimated at $2.4 million.

A proposal called for CCT and Milton to each put up $800,000 and seek another $800,000 from state grants for broadband services through the Wisconsin Public Service Commission.

The town board said it doesn’t have enough money to fund both a new town hall and broadband service project. One or the other is possible.

Milton says $400,000 from CapX2020 funds could be used to pay half the town’s share of $800,000 for broadband services.

The town receives an annual CapX2020 utility payment for about $73,000. The town says it could budget $40,000 of future CapX2020 funds annually over 10 years to pay the balance of Milton’s share for broadband services.

CCT services could be implemented in two phases and finished in 2018, the board says. The first phase would cost $1.2 million and provide services to 210 homes in Milton.

The seconnd phase, also priced at around $1.2 million, would make services available to the other 90 households in the town.

Milton has $600,000 in CapX2020 utility funds, but plan to allocate $200,000 of it as cost-share to the Fountain City Area Fire Association.

A financial technology company ranked Buffalo County first among the top 10 counties in Wisconsin in best overall value index.

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