|As a follow up to the Board of Commissioners' Broadband Initiative support resolution on March 18, 2021 and in order to provide a structured countywide leadership mechanism, County Administration recommends the Board establish a new Countywide Broadband Task Force with a goal to pursue the provision of internet access to all residents. The proposed initial membership of the Task Force was selected based on those organizations agreeing to fund the Merit Network data collection services contract, and those individuals already providing leadership from the grass roots Digital Equity Divide working group in Battle Creek. It is envisioned that the membership may be expanded and/or subcommittees created to ensure sufficient inclusion from key stakeholders throughout Calhoun County.
County Administration plans to staff the new Task Force through the leadership of Lucy Blair, Communications Manager, and with support from County IT and Community Development offices.
1) Mac McCullough, Community Engagement Librarian, Willard Library (chair)
2) Angela Stewart, Community Initiatives Officer, Battle Creek Community Foundation
3) Kathy Szenda Wilson, Co-executive Director, BC Pulse, and Battle Creek City Commissioner, Ward 4
4) Jim Haadsma, State Representative, 62nd District
5) Lee Adams, Director, Southcentral Michigan Planning Council and Community Development Leader, W.E. Upjohn Institute
6) Dr. Raymond Barclay, Chief Planning Officer, Albion College
7) Dr. Paul Watson, Vice President for Instruction, Kellogg Community College
8) Gary Tompkins, County Commissioner, District 7
9) Jake Smith, County Commissioner, District 3
10) Sam Lutgring, Assistant Superintendent, Techology Services, Calhoun Intermediate School District
11) Art Kale, Manager, Village of Homer, MI
| The only cost thus far for the Broadband Initiative is the engagement of Merit Network, Inc. of approximately $40,000 to provide data collection services. This cost will be covered entirely with funds to be remitted by the Battle Creek Community Foundation, which is holding funds contributed by community partners, including $10,000 from Calhoun County from available grant funds within the Health Department. Future costs will be determined within a feasibility study, and the obligation of any future funding from the County is subject to approval by the County and its Board of Commissioners as required by Board Policy and Administrative Authority.