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Nobles County board to host meeting, budget information session on Thursday

Thursday will be a busy day for the Nobles County Board of Commissioners, as they will conduct a regular board meeting at 3 p.m. and host a budget information public information meeting at 6 p.m. Both meetings will take place in the Commissioner Board Room.

Among the items on the docket for the regular meeting is a scheduled presentation by representatives of Lismore Telephone Cooperative regarding a $2 million request from Nobles County for American Recovery Act Plan funds that would go toward an expansion of fiber-to-home broadband infrastructure throughout underutilized areas of the county. The project would bring fiberoptic broadband to about 2,900 locations and an estimated 6,300 people.

Nobles County received $2,100,590 in 2021 as a certified American Recovery Act Plan award. Another award in that same amount is scheduled to be received during the summer of 2022 for a total award amount of $4,201,180 to the county. The funding will be utilized by county commissioners to offset COVID-related expenses and economic damages.

The Lismore Telephone Cooperative broadband plan costs a total of between $20 and $21 million and is contingent on receiving a USDA grant of approximately $15 million. The co-op would also chip in $2.5 million.

Several organizations have introduced infrastructure improvements that could be eligible for ARPA dollars, and county commissioners are expected to consider each of the projects Thursday and may ultimately vote on awarding funding for specific projects.

Also on Thursday’s regular meeting agenda are four action items pertaining to Community Services, along with establishing 2022 temporary/seasonal worker wages and approval of a $35,998 matching grant to “tuck point” bricks in the garage areas of the Armory building that’s now home to the Nobles County Historical Society. A closed session to discuss a union negotiation strategy is also scheduled.

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