Wayne, connected?

Commissioners discuss broadband, honor two dispatchers

By LIAM MAYO
Posted 8/17/21

HONESDALE, PA — The Wayne County Commissioners recognized a pair of long-time public servants at their August 12 meeting.

Matthew Cera and William McKinnel were honored for 10 years of …

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Wayne, connected?

Commissioners discuss broadband, honor two dispatchers

Posted

HONESDALE, PA — The Wayne County Commissioners recognized a pair of long-time public servants at their August 12 meeting.

Matthew Cera and William McKinnel were honored for 10 years of service as 911 dispatchers for Wayne County.

The two started training on the same day, 10 years ago, and have continued working in dispatch ever since. They also serve the cause of public safety outside of work hours, serving on fire departments in their respective homes of Lackawanna and Pike counties.

Commissioners thanked the two for keeping Wayne County residents safe through their work.

“You have one of the most important positions in the county as far as public safety,” said commissioner Brian Smith.

“I hope you’re here for many, many more years,” said commissioner Jocelyn Cramer. “It’s invaluable, and it’s really hard to get people to do what you do and be that dedicated.”

Broadband under discussion

The commissioners also highlighted the importance of reliable broadband access for Wayne County and its residents.

“It’s becoming a utility that’s absolutely necessary in our society,” said commissioner Joseph Adams.

The unavailability of reliable broadband provided a stumbling block for Wayne County residents in need of telehealth services or who wanted the opportunity to work from home, said commissioners. And essential government services, such as unemployment benefits, were more and more often available only online—without access to reliable broadband, people in need of assistance might have no way to access it.

At the meeting, commissioners discussed hiring a dedicated broadband specialist to help the county take its next steps towards connectivity.

They said that they had received funding from a private donor working with the Wayne County Community Foundation to hire a dedicated broadband specialist. This specialist would assist the county in acquiring funding for broadband projects, navigating grant opportunities and the like.

They voted to authorize a request for proposals (RFP) for an individual or a firm to serve as a dedicated broadband specialist. The contract will be for a 12-month original period with two extension periods and a 60-day cancellation period by either party, according to the text of the RFP.

The RFP also calls for meaningful action to be taken within that period: “The purpose and goal of this professional services agreement will be to secure affordable and accessible broadband services throughout Wayne County. This will be accomplished by the agreement on defined measurable outcomes.”

Parks, recycling bins and van drivers

In other business, the commissioners authorized a grant application to the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development. The $350,000 grant would fund the Hankins Pond Dam/Park project, allowing Wayne County to protect 100 acres of historically significant property—including the hand-constructed, pre-American Industrial Revolution-era Hankins Pond Dam—without spending local taxpayer funds.

One bid was opened for roll-off containers for the Wayne County Recycling Center, with the cost for three bins coming in at $37,999 and with the potential to add a fourth for $14,512. The commissioners made a motion to have the county’s solicitor and recycling director review the bids and make a recommendation in the near future.

The commissioners also made a motion to raise the salaries for two county van drivers, each of whom had reached their five-year anniversary with the county, by two percent.

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