There is no clarity at this time on when and where broadband will be available in Madison County, but companies are working to introduce lines.
“I met with Truvista two weeks ago and then last week with Windstream,” county commission chairman Todd Higdon said. “None of them provide maps, because I asked for them. And I’ll tell you why. In their minds, they don’t want to know where they’re going, because the other company will come and surprise them and build the same road .
Higdon was responding to a request from Planter Gunnell Road resident Don Edmundson to have internet companies appear before the board to give an update on where they are going and when.
The president said Rural Digital Opportunity Funds (RDOF) have been distributed to businesses to expand internet services, adding that those funds include money to expand in Madison County.
“I asked for maps and as soon as I got them they were published in the newspaper,” Higdon said. “We’ll even post it on our website so you know who’s coming and potentially when they’re coming. At present, they are still capturing the influx of dollars and they are fighting for territory.
Higdon said he knows of four crews working in Madison County, but they are contractors with no identification of who they are employed with. He said he had asked ISPs to require contractors to have something visible to identify them.
“They don’t have a sticker on the door saying who they are,” he said. “I asked that.”
In a separate case, Higdon reported that the Broad River Bridge over the highway. 281 will be closed the first week of June. He said the signage is supposed to be put on the freeway. 281 this week to inform motorists of the upcoming closure. The project is expected to last 320 days.
Higdon said a proposed Arpeggio noise ordinance was about 75% complete. He said attendance at the recent Chamber of Commerce-sponsored Taste of Madison County was excellent and the event was a success. He said Keep Madison County Beautiful recently hosted 362 third graders from the county’s five elementary schools at the transfer station to teach them about the importance of not littering and disposing of trash properly. He noted upcoming activities at the recreation department, as well as registration for fall sports, accessible at madcorec.com.
LIQUEUR BY THE UPCOMING REFERENDUM DRINK
Madison County voters will have the choice in November of allowing alcohol to drink in restaurants in Madison County. The Board of Commissioners formally approved a referendum on Monday to give voters a choice in the matter. Approval of the referendum will not open the door to liquor stores in the county, only drinking in restaurants.
APPROVED CAMPING EXTENSIONS
In a separate case, county commissioners approved two separate extensions for Michael Hajdu and Danny Sherman to live in campers for another six months.
The discussion of Hajdu’s request was lengthy and included whether he could keep two campers on his property for his wife and four children. There have also been discussions of several code violations on the property. The council eventually approved an extension to his camper house, on the condition that he work with code enforcement and building inspection offices to address issues on the property.
Both Hajdu and Sherman are building homes on their properties, but both have run into roadblocks and are living in RVs.
Madison County Library Branch Manager Aleta Turner delivered a quarterly report to commissioners Monday from January through March. She noted that customer visits increased by 16.6% between the first quarter of 2022 and the last quarter of 2021. She noted that Hannah Wolff is the library’s new youth specialist. June 1 is the first day of the library’s summer reading program. A blood drive will be held at the library from 1 to 5 p.m. on June 7. To learn more about the library, visit www.athenslibrary.org/madison.
The council appointed Jeff Hendricks to the county’s planning and zoning board.
Commissioner Terry Chandler requested that the county speak to the post office about stopping services on Timberland Drive. Higdon said he would. He then said that the Danielsville Post Office was working hard but was severely understaffed due to decisions made at a higher level in the department.
Drago Tesanovich, a participant in the meeting, said Hall Consulting needs to do more to inform the public about the full county land use plan update currently underway. Another audience member, Stephanie Harvin, responded that Hall Consulting’s Marilyn Hall spent hours at the recent Taste of Madison County in Comer meeting people and talking about the plan. Higdon said the county had done what it could to promote the plan and public apathy was not something the BOC could fix. He expressed dismay at Madison County’s early low turnout for the primaries, noting that only 2,399 out of 22,000 voted early.
“We have been talking about it for a year at every meeting, every month. If the public is not informed of the overall plan, it is their fault,” Higdon said. “We all know we are in an election cycle. We all know we are in the primaries. It’s on every news station nationwide, including the Atlanta stations. (Higdon then cited low turnout). No matter how much I preach it. It doesn’t matter if I dance a jig if they don’t read the paper and watch social media. People will only do what people will do. I can promise you that this council has made every effort to get as much buy-in as possible for this comprehensive plan. I am just as passionate as you. But I can’t drive these people and I’m not going to take them by bus. I am not. It was a shame for me today. I was really upset with the voter turnout of 2,399. And I thought to myself, 2,300 voters and everyone is complaining about gasoline. Everyone complains about $5 a gallon gas, but they’re too lazy to vote. It’s your fault what you get, because we can’t do anything more for you. We are just a board of commissioners. We can’t be your parents.