Carson City fiber optics future prospects spark talk

An upgrade in Carson City government’s fiber communications linkage involving no more than about $320,000 prompted a wider discussion Thursday.

Voting without dissent, the Board of Supervisors determined Curtis and Sons, Inc., was the lowest of two bidders at $290,203.50, but with a 10 percent contingency amount possible, to handle the city’s fiber optics linkage involving city dispatch, the Public Works Department and the Carson City Community Center. The not-to-exceed amount with the contingency is $319,223.85. Supervisor Brad Bonkowski, however, brought up a larger and longer term agenda.

He said manufacturers eying Carson City as a location bemoan the lack of high speed Internet connectivity here for the private sector.

“That’s something that I would really like to explore,” he said. Initially, he asked questions that showed he was wondering if businesses could be brought into the picture with this upgrade for city connectivity.

“We can’t do that as we sit right now,” said Eric Von Schimmelmann, city interim information technology manager.

Public Works Director Darren Schulz told the board his department shares information quarterly with private sector communications service providers about projects that might give them an opportunity to piggyback on those underground chances, but hasn’t reached out to them specifically about this or other particular fiber optics upgrades. He was responding to a query from Supervisor Lori Bagwell.

The contract before the board involves a significant upgrade for government here, according to James Jacklett, operations manager for control systems with the Public Works Department.

“We’re talking about a lot of connectivity here,” he said.

In other action, the board approved a purchase order for $575,000 to cover computer equipment and software with three firms and decided once again to use Maxwell Products, at a cost of $125,000, for crack sealant to repair streets. On the latter matter, Schulz told the board Maxwell’s sealant worked best without problems for city government’s machine.

The board authorized the Parks and Recreation Department to hire a park ranger in the Open Space division in the aftermath of the city acquiring or receiving large amounts of non-urban areas in the consolidated city-county community. Ann Bollinger, Open Space manager, said the ranger would spend up to 60 percent of his or her time patrolling thousands of acres, as well as handle interpretive education, help with events and oversee or handle management and maintenance matters. The ranger could issue citations for some things, but would call in sheriff’s deputies to handle serious situations.

Bollinger said more than 7,000 acres are involved, including Silver Saddle Ranch. She said the pay range for the position is $36,266 to $54,399, while deputies require more.

The board authorized Mayor Robert Crowell to sign leases for Alpine Lake water, something the city has done routinely for years. Schulz said it helps with surface water availability during droughts while indicating groundwater supplies remain solid.


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