Pittsford eyes broadband for all


Pittsford – A presentation to the Pittsford Selectboard by the Otter Creek Consolidated Communications District asked the panel to consider allocating ARPA funds to broadband infrastructure in the community.

Tony Ferraro, a representative from the communications district, explained OCCUD’s plan to deliver broadband service to all Pittsford homes over the next several years.

Ferraro’s presentation included a breakdown of houses served, underserved and unserved by current broadband infrastructure. He explained that the goal of the OCCUD – which is currently run by an all-volunteer staff – is to create a fiberoptic network from scratch by using an estimated $70 million and partnering with existing broadband providers. He explained that the project will be funded by a combination of federal and state grants, ISP partner capital, revenue bonds if needed and optional town contributions.

Once completed, the operating cost of the system would be paid by way of a small subscriber service fee.

Ferraro’s presentation was followed by testimony from Pittsford resident Shawn Good. Good’s home is located on Blue Quarry Road, in a place that does not receive quality broadband access and is considered – by the standards of Ferraro’s presentation – unserved.

Good told the selectboard that he has been working for a while to try to fix this issue, which has been exacerbated by the need to have a steady internet connection during the pandemic. He reported driving his son, who was a freshman in high school when the pandemic hit, to the parking lot of the public library on an almost daily basis to access reliable internet for his son’s online learning.

A current option if for Good to pay $2,400 out of pocket for Comcast to link his and his neighbor’s households to broadband infrastructure. Good said that at this point, he is willing to take the company up on the offer, but that this pricing depends on the neighbor also paying $2,400 to be connected.

Good asked the selectboard to consider putting ARPA money towards helping unserved residents such as himself access broadband and described living without it as “unsustainable.”

Other Business

• Selectmen unanimously approved the Town Meeting warning. A Town Meeting informational session will take place over Zoom this year and is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Monday, Feb. 28. Voting by mail ballot is scheduled for March 1.

• A handful of representatives from the Otter Creek Watershed Insect Control District – formerly the BLSG Insect Control District – introduced themselves to the selectboard. Present at the meeting were Chair Doug Perkins, Vice Chair Jeff Schumann and Secretary Stephen Belcher. They discussed some aspects of the adulticide program, but otherwise the selectboard took no action.

• The selectboard unanimously approved Town Manager John Haverstock to bid at the town’s tax sale, scheduled for Tuesday, Jan. 25.

As of the meeting, two properties remained eligible for auction at the tax sale. Haverstock said there is a chance that even fewer may be up for sale by the time of the event Tuesday.

• A right-of-way permit was unanimously issued for the construction of a driveway on Goat Farm Road. The application re- quest was approved by Highway Foreman Chad Eugair, with the condition that a 15-inch culvert be inserted to prevent water from running into the roadway.

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