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September 15, 2019

8/29/2019 2:06:00 PM
Chisago Lake Twp. to go for grant with Franconia

The Chisago Lake Township Board has voted 3-0 to move forward on completing the necessary steps to apply for a grant, with CTC and Franconia Township.  They hope to win state financial assistance to upgrade Internet to broadband. (Press story Aug. 22 on Franconia action.)

Chisago Lake Township Supervisor Sherry Stirling said supervisors looked over the information generated from the recent survey of township residents,  and at this time Chisago Lake Township might structure its future share of Internet enhancement financing somewhat differently from what was proposed in Franconia.  

Chisago Lake will finalize the funding option after it sees an announcement on the Border to Border grant winners, Stirling explained.

For now Chisago Lake Township officials expect payments being collected to cover the township share of the Internet project costs only from parcels containing a structure. The estimate is about $2,000 per property.  The monthly cost savings switching to higher speed and greater capacity CTC service plans  will  more than pay for financing costs, she noted. (Franconia was proposing a per-acre payment on agricultural land in its financing plan as well as a  payment on improved parcels.)

The application for the state aid will be submitted by the telecommunication cooperative CTC, based in Brainered.   CTC  expressed interest in working on the townships’ Internet improvements when planning on this application for funding was begun.  

The company administers any grant and is the fiscal agent.  The hoped for Border to Border award is $5 million, to be apportioned to Franconia and Chisago Lake project expenses based on population and Internet customer potential, explained Supervisor Stirling.

The Township Boards needed to act on the resolution supporting the grant application now due to a mid-September deadline to apply for Minnesota’s Border to Border program.

What residents can do
Chisago County HRA/EDA Director Nancy Hoffman is consulting on the  process and she also mentions that residents can send letters of support for the grant application now and help boost its profile with grant decision-makers.  

Mail letters to Chisago Lake Town Hall 12400 316th Street, Lindstrom MN 55045 or to the Chisago County HRA/EDA at 38871 7th Avenue P.O. Box 815, North Branch MN 55056.

The letter should be to Commissioner Grove, Angie Dickinson and members of the Review Team-- and state that the resident is in support of their township application, and share any positives the resident expects from having broadband services extended to their property.   The envelope containing the letter should have the address of the Office of Broadband Development on it:  First Natl Bank Building, 332 Minnesota St. Suite E200 St Paul, MN 55101.
Hoffman said all the letters will be put together with the application materials, so send them in ASAP.

CTC is hosting a free community informational dinner for affected township residents Thursday night, September 5,  at Bloom Lake Barn.

Residents with questions about aspects of the proposed high speed, high capacity improvements and  the project will  be able to speak with company officials and township officeholders.  The event starts at 6 p.m.

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