Commissioners To Fund Local Match for SKSRT’s LEAD Broadband Grant Application

During a Special Pocahontas Commission meeting on Wednesday, November 15th, Jenna Miller of the Spruce Knob/Seneca Rocks Telephone Company (SKSRT) asked the commissioners to agree to fund the $72,500 local match for SKSRT’s “Line Extension Advancement and Development” (or LEAD) broadband grant application. If SKSRT receives approval for this grant, it will provide broadband service to up to 145 addresses located on North Fork Loop, Lower Murphy Road and Powder Horn Lane in the Durbin area. Miller said the local match amount is based on $500 per address that could elect to receive the service, which would be about 13% of the total cost of the project. She emphasized this 13% local match is a better deal then most broadband grants which require a 25% local match. Miller also said that SKSRT has already received approval to use the utility poles which would be needed for this project, and that will speed up the construction of the project if it is approved.

Mike Holstine and Amanda Smarr both supported Miller’s request for commission support on this.  Commissioner Rebinski made the motion to provide the local match for this grant application, adding that the money should be taken out of the $200,000 from the county’s American Rescue Plan money that the commission had already set aside to pay for local broadband grant matches.

Miller said the money would only be needed if the grant application is approved. The application will be submitted before it is due on November 17th, but it will be a while before they find out if the grant is approved or not.

The LEAD grant is based on funds from the State of West Virginia.

Also, at this special meeting, the commissioners approved the hiring of Casandra Smith as a full-time employee of the County Clerk’s Office.

Story By

Tim Walker

Tim is the WVMR News Reporter. Tim is a native of Maryland who started coming to Pocahontas County in the 1970’s as a caver. He bought land on Droop Mountain off Jacox Road in 1976 and built a small house there in the early 80’s. While still working in Maryland, Tim spent much time at his place which is located on the Friars Hole Cave Preserve. Retiring in 2011 as a Lieutenant with the Anne Arundel County Police Department in Maryland, Tim finally took the plunge and moved from Maryland to his real home on Droop Mountain. He began working as the Pocahontas County Reporter for Allegheny Mountain Radio in January of 2015.

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