Town Asking Voters To Weigh In On Broadband Funding

Voters in the Town of Gardner will have more than candidates to choose from during the April 2 spring election.

The Gardner Town Board last week approved a resolution to place an advisory referendum on the ballot to find out whether town residents would support borrowing up to $1,242,686 to fund the development of fiber internet throughout the town.

The resolution states the town would borrow the money to pay for approximately 25% of the total project cost. Town supervisor Kevin Fleischman said Brightspeed’s contribution would be 25%. The town intends to apply for grants to fund the remaining 50%. 

The resolution further states the town board pursued bids and options for a broadband project and reached an agreement with Brightspeed, which would run new fiber optic cable throughout the town to every occupied home or business property “to replace the old, antiquated copper line DSL system.”

Because the referendum isn’t binding, it would be up to the board to decide whether to proceed with the project, which would also be dependent on the town receiving grants.

Gardner residents said in a previous town-wide survey that they supported the installation of a broadband project.