Lanett council approves funding application
LANETT — The Lanett City Council on Monday unanimously approved a resolution backing the Chambers County Commission’s application for funding through the CARES Act. The $2.2 trillion Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act was approved by Congress in 2020 and signed into law by former President Donald Trump. It has been followed up by 2021 by a $1.9 trillion economic assistance program signed into law by President Joe Biden.
Chambers County could receive $400,000 through this legislation. The county has to have an application submitted to the federal government by April 1. At least two-thirds of local governments must support the request for it to be approved at the national level. In other words, local cities need to get on board in supporting the request.
If the county doesn’t succeed in getting the money, it will be going to another county that made a successful application.
Chris Busby of the Chambers County Development Authority (CCDA) was at the Monday council meeting to discuss how the money would be spent if approved. The county is looking at extending broadband to rural areas where it’s not presently available. This creates a disadvantage to school-age children whose households cannot receive the internet. The $400,000 would allow the Five Points and Fredonia areas to get broadband.
Busby said that large swaths of rural Chambers County do not have broadband service, and that it’s a problem that must be addressed “one step at a time.”
The solution is to have broadband service between established connection points. As it is, kids who live in these areas have to travel in search of Wi-Fi service.
If the money is approved, an existing company in Roanoke (TEC) could get broadband to Fredonia and Five Points. It will take some time (and expense) to get all areas of the county connected.
“The internet is a vital part of our lives, and kids need to have it,” Busby said.
TEC stands for Telephone Electronics Corporation. The Mississippi-based company has an office in Roanoke.
In other business, Council Member Jamie Heard urged fellow citizens to get vaccinated.
“I’ve been vaccinated twice, and I’m still here,” he said.
Heard thanked the men of the city’s Street Department for completing work in the West Shawmut area he represents on the council.
“They are really happy about it,” he said.
Council Member Thomas thanked the Street Department on their continuing work to keep the city looking clean. “They are doing a great job, and we appreciate it,” she said.
Thomas said she would be heading up a clean-up day in her district on Saturday, March 27.
“We will have a meet and greet to discuss what we can do to clean up our neighborhood,” she said. “We are all in this together. I don’t like the negative stuff that’s being said about Lanett. We should stay positive. Let’s do what we are supposed to do and take good care of this city.”
Council Member Tifton Dobbs thanked the city’s Electrical Department for getting a working street light on South 12th Street. He said that he had been reviewing the job description for a city administrator, a position the council is considering adding.
Council Member Thomas said she was pleased with the way the Lanett High basketball teams represented the community in the recent 2A Final Four in Birmingham.
“We were disappointed that the Panthers didn’t win it, but I’ve heard nothing but good things about the way they represented the Lanett community,” Thomas said.
“These are good times for Lanett,” Mayor McCoy said. “When it comes to having the best team in the state, our teams are in the conversation just about every year.”
Over the last five years, Lanett boys teams have won three state titles and made the championship game two other years.
“Our teams represent us very well,” McCoy said. “We are very blessed to have the kind of positive exposure they have brought to our city. In many cases, the way other communities around the state know of you is what kind of sports teams you have. Ours have been doing well year after year, and we are proud of the way our coaches, players and fans represent us.”