April 11, 2011
In a sharp
reversal of direction Chelan County PUD Commissioners have decided not to accept a 25 million dollar Federal grant
to buildout the district’s fiberoptic network. Steve Hair reports . . The board’s decision Monday
afternoon followed a new staff analysis that showed actual costs of the buildout far exceeded original estimates.
Commissioners also learned that the three-year build-out schedule that the grant required cannot be met. In the
end John Janney said withdrawing from the grant was the only viable option . . In his comments to the
Commissioners Janney stressed that the District needs to get a better handle on the operational and maintenance
costs before going forward with expanding the fiber system . . The board’s vote to cancel the Federal grant
was unanimous. The motion also included cancellation of the 2 percent electric rate increase that was to generate
the local 25 percent matching funds for the project. After the meeting Janney said he expected that by
the end of the year the district will have developed a long-term strategic plan for the fiber program.