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Brownton Council continues participation in RS Fiber effort

On a 3-1 vote Jan. 6, the Brownton City Council passed a resolution indicating that it will use its bonding authority to help secure a loan for the fledgling RS Fiber project.
Shannon Sweeney of David Drown Associates, the financial advisor for both RS Fiber and the city of Brownton, said the proposal to bring fiber-optic service to homes in 10 communities and rural areas in Renville, Sibley and McLeod counties, had changed from a public entity to a private cooperative.
Sweeney said the 10 participating cities are being asked to pledge general obligation authority to help obtain funding for the project.
Sweeney said the cities would not need to issue bonds unless the cooperative was unable to meet loan payments. He added that the financing is structured so that there will be no loan payments the first few years until the cooperative has established a customer base and has revenue coming in.
Sweeney said that when the project was reorganized as a private cooperative, it was scaled back considerably, and the intention is now to build the system in the 10 participating first, and then extend service to rural areas once the municipal systems are complete.
Mayor Norm Schwarze raised several concerns about the project, including competition from other services.

For more, see the Jan. 14 print edition of The Chronicle.