Suamico approves fiber optic project management contract
By Kevin Boneske
SUAMICO – An agreement with Multimedia Communications & Engineering (MCE) to provide the village with permitting, management and inspection services for TDS Fiber to install roughly 1 million feet of fiber optic cable in the village’s right-of-way over two years was approved Monday, Oct. 18, by the Suamico Village Board.
Public Works Director Andy Smits said the project is significantly larger than most utility or communication line projects being installed in the village’s right-of-way, and the village does not have the staff or time available for the project.
Smits said the village contacted MCE for a proposal, with TDS covering the costs the village sees from MCE as pass-through costs.
“I guess I didn’t know anything about MCE prior to this, but we got their information from a neighboring community that is also using MCE for TDS’s fiber (installation) project,” he said.
Smits said the village will charge TDS, through the permit, the cost of MCE’s services.
He said he didn’t see a need to bid out the work MCE will be doing for the village, because TDS will be covering the cost of whoever is selected.
“MCE is a company that specializes in fiber optic installation, and they’re reputable to the area,” Smits said.
Suamico Village Administrator Alex Kaker said there is no requirement to bid out the project because it involves pass-through costs.
Dan Becker of MCE said the company’s charges should remain around 17 cents per foot, even though the project will be done over two years, instead of the intiial one-year estimate.
“I can honestly say that spreading this over a two-year period would not make such an impact on the total cost as to affect the price per foot, if you want to keep it at that flat 17 (cents) to keep things easy and understandable,” he said.
In other action, the board voted 5-1 to include service and recognition award programs in the 2022 budget.
Trustee Michelle Eckert spoke against funding a recognition award program, and was the lone dissenter.
“When you see something, you should do the right thing,” she said. “I don’t think they should be awarded by us doling money out for that.”
Kaker said the service award program will recognize five-year increments of full-time employment at a Village Board meeting with a gift or gift card.
He said the recognition award program will recognize employees doing something above and beyond regular job duties, with nominations submitted by anyone within the organization being reviewed by a three-member committee comprised of the village administrator and two department heads.
Kaker said there will be three levels of awards – $50, $100 and $500.
Trustee Dan Roddan said having a recognition award “encourages people to go above and beyond, and it gives them something to look forward to.”
“It’s creating an atmosphere and creating a culture of recognizing our employees and… adding self-worth, I guess,” he said. “If it’s that one thing that keeps that employee here and excited, I think that’s important, especially in today’s job market.”
Kaker said the service and recognition award programs will be budgeted for just 2022, and it could be ended by the board after next year.
The board held the first reading of an ordinance amendment to allow property owners to install concrete driveways up to the end of the roadway in the village’s right-of-way in areas where there is not curb and gutter.
Smits said Suamico currently does not allow concrete driveways on the right-of-way in those areas.
“We’ve discussed it here at a staff level, and it’s hard on homeowners and builders… to make that switch (from concrete to asphalt) at the right-of-way line,” he said. “It’s harder to get asphalt contractors out nowadays.”
The proposed amendment would require a 45-degree taper/flare on both sides of a concrete driveway where it meets the asphalt roadway.
In the event of street reconstruction, under the amendment any driveway with concrete removed during a project would be replaced by asphalt, though a property owner would be allowed to replace the area in concrete at his or her own expense.
The final reading of the amendment is slated for the board’s Nov. 1 meeting.