Save Our Town Rindge Responds

Larry Cleveland of Save Our Town Rindge had this to say about an article that appeared in the Ledger Transcript that blamed their group for voting to reject certain federal grants supporting local projects in Rindge, and to cut their relationship with the Southwest Region Planning Commission.

In response to the article: High Speed Internet project at a standstill due to town vote (Karina Barriga Albring, June 18th).
by Larry Cleveland, SOT

First of all, the title itself is misleading. The standstill is caused by the fact that the Fast Roads project in Rindge is complete. Please go to their website and see the press release. It has nothing to do with the “town vote”. They are out of grant money. Selectwoman Oeser keeps saying that the town can’t apply for any grants allowing for more broadband. To the best of my knowledge, there are no more grants available. If there were, don’t you think Fast Roads would be all over them? If there is, please Ms. Oeser, state what they are. I have been to several meetings, and not heard of one. Is this behavior just a tactic to discredit Save Our Town?

The article alleges that Fast Roads brought high speed internet to the Police Department, RMS, and the library. At a recent meeting, the question was asked, “are there any Rindge town buildings connected to this broadband?” The answer was, “no, it’s too expensive.” The fact is this broadband “pipeline” only runs by 467 homes in Rindge. This is less than 25% of residences. Out of those, only 80 have chosen to be connected. This project cost the American taxpayer $2.5 million in Rindge alone. At that rate, with only 80 homes connected because of the high price to connect, and service rates, that amounts to over $31,000 per house. What a bargain. And now they want even more taxpayer dollars to run more lines that won’t be used?

This article, like others, has again misquoted me. I never said that I believe there is no need to expand service in Rindge. I did say that I believe according to the Fast Roads press release, they have no intentions on expanding service in Rindge. Frankly, there are not enough houses per mile to make it a lucrative business for ISP’s.

Another untruth in this article is the line “voters decided they didn’t want Rindge officials to receive any (HUD) grants.” Not true. We want to be able to see what they are, and what strings are attached before accepting. After this last round of HUD grants, it was revealed that town officials never read the whole contract, nor did they have legal counsel look at them. As far as “not having the tools” to apply for additional grants, I ask what grants? What tools? Oeser is stated as saying “getting geographic data from the SWRPC is the most convenient approach”. I say, it might be convenient, but there are other resources. It might take a little more work, but isn’t that your job as an elected official? Maybe the real convenience is blaming everything on Save Our Town.