Fiscal court meets at distance

Graves County Financial Officer Debbie Buck (left) looks through her cell phone to Facebook Live Monday’s regularly-scheduled fiscal court meeting from the Graves County Circuit Courtroom. The meeting was video streamed and commissioners Todd Hayden, Richie Galloway, Tyler Goodman and Judge-Executive Jesse Perry (background), and other county officials, practiced safe social distancing in the meeting.

The Graves County Fiscal Court practiced social distancing during its Monday meeting and also streamed the proceedings over Facebook Live to keep the meeting public during the current coronavirus pandemic.

The gathering consisted of Judge-Executive Jesse Perry, commissioners Todd Hayden, Richie Galloway and Tyler Goodman, County Attorney John Cunningham, County Treasurer Codie Courtney, Sheriff Jon Hayden, County Financial Officer Debbie Buck, and The Mayfield Messenger. Buck streamed the court over its Facebook page.

In the brief meeting, commissioners approved advertising for bids for a company to install and administer a fiber optic Internet system in Graves County. According to the bid, the system would provide Wi-Fi to the general public in agreed upon locations by the company and fiscal court, as well as provide fiber optic internet to underserved areas of the county, including Symsonia, Water Valley and an area approximately three to five miles outside the city limits of Mayfield but excluding the city.

The bid reads: “Considering recent events, high-speed internet is fundamental in education and an ever-changing business environment.” With Chromebook availability through the school systems for school work and the present Non-Traditional Instruction (NTI) issuance for students and teachers to work from home during the COVID-19 pandemic, available Internet has been a must for residents.

Specifications for the bid include:

• Fiber optic shall be at least 90% buried;

• No data caps for business and residential for at least two years;

• All fiber networks, with a speed of up to 1 gigabit;

• Minimum of 100x100 megabits per second download and upload speed;

• The company shall have a local office in which employees will be available for consultation, sales, troubleshooting, technical services, etc. Additionally, the company shall have employees located in the county to service and maintain the system infrastructure;

• Implement and activate 10 sites, agreed upon by the company and Graves County Fiscal Court, within 30 days of the contract that offer public Wi-Fi, concentrated in areas to assists students out of school;

• Also implement and activate an additional 10 sites, also agreed upon by the company and fiscal court, within 60 days of the contract where the public may access Wi-Fi, and focus on underserved areas of Graves County;

• Of the 20 sites, 10 shall be permanent as agreed by the company and fiscal court, and consist of at least 50% Community Anchor Institutions locations, such as schools, library or health care facility, that will serve the public good. The 10 sites turned down can occur after the State of Emergency has ended or students return to school;

• All sites shall have parking of at least 20 spaces;

• Locations of the sites must encompass and include areas of Graves County that are underserved with Internet;

• And is only applicable to Graves County and not the City of Mayfield.

All work, the bid states, should comply with federal, state and local regulations. Bids must be received in Perry’s office by 4 p.m. on Wednesday, April 1.

The county reserves the right to accept or reject any or all bids.

Those interested may call 270-247-3626 between 8 a.m.-4 p.m. on Monday through Friday for additional information.

Commissioners also set a special-called meeting for April 1 at 4 p.m. in the circuit courtroom to accept bids.

The court also canceled a planned budget workshop for March 30 and approved the treasurer’s claims and February housing report for the Graves County Jail.

Eric Walker is the news editor for The Mayfield Messenger. He has also worked as a staff writer for the Messenger, editor for the Murray Ledger & Times, and in public relations. He is married with two sons.