By DON FLETCHER
News Staff Writer
Atmore City Council members approved during their Monday (August 9) meeting the first step in the eventual purchase of a new piece of equipment for the streets and sanitation department. The council also approved the designation of nearly two dozen vehicles as surplus.
But it was comments made after the brief meeting that raised the most eyebrows.
After the meeting was formally adjourned, Mayor Jim Staff asked for comments from the public. Local resident Russell Robinson asked if the city would consider taking some type of action to improve the quality of internet and broadband services available here.
“It’s a big concern, and I’m asking what part y’all can play,” Robinson said. “But with our internet providers, Mediacom and Frontier, there’s a consistency of outages, and people talk about how slow Frontier is. With new business and industry coming to town, we have to think about what’s going to benefit them.”
Surprisingly, Mayor Jim Staff said the volume of complaints about local service had prompted him to open talks with an unnamed internet service provider about the possibility of the company setting up shop here.
“We’ve been working with a broadband company,” Staff said. “So far, they haven’t come to town, but we’ve been working with them for about three months now. We’re trying our best to get somebody in here that can give us some broadband coverage because we don’t have any.”
The mayor noted that some entities, mostly larger businesses, have fiber optic service, a need the private sector also shares.
“Some businesses have fiber optics, but not any of our houses,” he said. “The banks and schools do, and that’s fine and dandy. But as far as the citizens, we don’t have anything, and it’s a necessary something.”
The council, with District 2’s Jerome Webster absent due to illness, unanimously authorized Calvin Grace, director of the streets and sanitation department, to begin the process of purchasing (off the state bid list) a John Deere tractor with a sidearm.
The surplus measure also passed by unanimous vote. Staff said “about 20” surplus vehicles would be sold at public auction in the near future. A list is published top right of this page.