County board approves Jefferson Township broadband pilot project

Published 10:33 am Friday, October 8, 2021

CASSOPOLIS — One area of Cass County is getting more connected, thanks to a Thursday evening vote of the Cass County Board of Commissioners.

During its regular meeting, the board voted to approve a Jefferson Township/Midwest Energy and Communications Broadband Pilot Program. The project will install fiber internet on Davis Lake Street in Jefferson Township for a cost of $62,500. The cost will be split between the county and the township. Jefferson Township Supervisor Dean Hass said MEC is contributing as well.

“I really appreciate the pilot program MEC is willing to put forth in part of our township, along with the commissioners, for broadband extension on one of our roads as a pilot program,” Hass said. “Hopefully, we can do more of this in our area.”

During Thursday’s resolution, commissioners said the Jefferson Township project fits with the goals of its Broadband Committee, which aims to explore options to facilitate expanded broadband access throughout Cass County via collaboration, partnerships and initiatives. Approval of Thursday’s resolution was recommended by the committee.

One commissioner happy to see the approval go through was Robert Benjamin, district five. He has seen similar projects in Milton Township prove successful.

“I’m very appreciative that projects like this are happening in Cass County,” he said prior to the vote. “I encourage the commission to vote yes.”

The resolution was approved unanimously, with Commissioner Ryan Laylin absent.

Hass said work on installations is set to begin as soon as possible.

Also Thursday:

  • The board accepted the terms and conditions of the State of Michigan Fiscal Year 2021 Emergency Management Performance Grant Agreement.
  • The board approved a memorandum of understanding with the city of Dowagiac to administer an emergency repair loan program on behalf of the county. The program utilizes Community Develop Block Grant funding through the Michigan Economic Development Corporation. According to the resolution, $35,000 per year must be spent on emergency repair loan activities or be returned to the state.

“The county seeks to partner with the city of Dowagiac to administer the Emergency Repair Loan Program to ensure said funds continue to benefit the residents of the county,” the resolution reads.

  • The board appointed Mark Herman, Susan Dobrich, Stacey Rentfrow, Richard Behnke, Bob Weber and Victor Fitz to the Cass County Community Corrections Board for terms ending Sept. 30, 2025.