Dayton voices support for broadband network

DAYTON — Dayton Town Council unanimously approved a resolution at its meeting Monday to support Gov. Matt Mead’s Unified Network phases 1 and 2 proposal. All cities and towns in northeast Wyoming were asked to vote on the resolution by the Northeast Wyoming Municipal Leaders Group.

Dayton Mayor Bob Wood said the concept of building a unified broadband network to provide statewide access to high-speed Internet complements an endeavor by the Tongue River Valley Joint Powers Board to bring natural gas to Dayton, Ranchester and areas in between.

Wood noted that the Wyoming Legislature will be considering House Bill 47, sponsored by Rep. Rosie Berger, R-Big Horn, in the upcoming session.

That bill will extend authority to municipalities to apply for state funding to establish gas lines and broadband networks.

Currently it is not expressly stated that State Loan and Investment Board funds can be used for natural gas lines or broadband networks.

The Council also reviewed a grant application by the natural gas board to SLIB.

Wood said the SLIB grant application requires that all entities involved in the grant — Dayton, Ranchester, Sheridan County School District 1 and County Commission — review the grant before submittal.

Wood said the grant is due by Feb. 20, which is in the middle of the Legislative session in which it will be decided if SLIB funds can be used to support a municipally owned natural gas line, so the grant will include a letter stating that the board understands House Bill 47 must pass in order for the grant application to be valid.

“Our time schedule is so close. We must get the grant in by Feb. 20 for the June SLIB opening. If we don’t get it through the June opening, our time schedule will be really bad if we have to wait another year,” Wood said.

Wood noted that he recently wrote a check for $700 for 200 gallons of propane, and that the natural gas board wants to begin construction this season in order to provide a cheaper heating alternative as soon as possible. If construction can begin this summer, it is hoped the line will be complete by fall 2015, Wood said.

The SLIB grant requests $2.5 million in grant funds and $3.6 million in loans to complete the line.

In other business, Dayton Town Council unanimously approved renewals for four liquor licenses, as well as catering permits and extended hours for the Corner Grocery during Dayton Days 2014.

The Mountain Inn Bar, Crazy Woman Saloon, Branding Iron Cafe and Corner Grocery all received liquor license renewals, Mayor Bob Wood said. There were no complaints or public comments on the matter.

Councilwoman Joey Sheeley was not present at the meeting but would have recused herself from the vote since her husband owns Corner Grocery, Wood said.

The council also approved four days on which bars can be open 24 hours in 2014. The days are: July 4, July 26 for Dayton Days, Oct. 31 for Halloween and Dec. 31 for New Year’s Eve.

Tongue River High School sophomore Samuel Martin was sworn in as the new junior councilor.

About

Hannah Wiest is the government and outdoors reporter for The Sheridan Press. She has lived in Colorado and Montana but loves her sunny home state of Wyoming best. She joined The Press staff in February 2013.

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