Voter turnout, broadband Internet updates provided at county commission meeting

Tuesday, April 2, 2019

During a Saline County Commission meeting this morning, April 2, County Clerk Debbie Russell provided an update on voter turnout.

Fourteen precincts are taking registered voters today for the general election. Russell was not able to contact all precincts, but provided the information she had by 9 a.m.

Blackburn had six ballots cast. There were three in Malta Bend, 31 in Sweet Springs and 16 in Miami. Also, Marshall’s Ward 1 had 61 ballots cast, Ward 2 had 70, Ward 3 had 62, and Ward 4 had 60. Slater came in with 11 ballots.

“The start up today was probably the most uneventful one, as far as machines,” she said. “The election is full blast, and hopefully we’ll have a decent turnout today.”

Polls will remain open until 7 p.m.

During the meeting, Northern District Commissioner Stephanie Gooden provided information on possible broadband Internet for the county.

“Yesterday … we had a two-hour conference call with Blue Bird, who is an Internet service provider. They are a main server of the cable and fiber to bringing broadband Internet to Saline County. It’s something that we, as a commission, have been working very diligently on,” she said. “We’ve attended grant workshops. There’s a $25 million USDA reconnect grant. However, there are a couple of stipulations.”

One of those stipulations is the county would have to have a professional engineer sign off on the layout. Also, the county would have to have a 25 percent match to an awarded grant.

“Blue Bird was going to be our perfect opportunity so they could match … $6 million worth of cable, and also they had an engineering plan for Saline County,” Gooden said. “However, Blue Bird is looking for a partnership. And we’ve had (Marshall Municipal Utilities) come in … because they already service Marshall, we thought it would be a perfect match so they could take broadband Internet out into the county.”

Gooden stated she wants citizens to know that the commission is working to provide Internet to county residents.

“It’s time that we get caught up in the 21st century, so to speak,” she said. “I know our agriculture people need it … we have a lot of telecommute jobs that need to have this … Just know that it’s a passion of the commission, and it’s something that we’re working on.”

Commissioners have another conference call scheduled for next Monday.

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