We have received several emails with the same questions,
and rather than answer each email individually, we are posting the
questions and answers here, for our convenience. For more information,
please check out the city links to the right, particularly the FAQ
section which addresses most of these questions.
|If one of the three cities decides not to
go forward, the cost for the two remaining cities (if they decide
to go ahead with the project) would increase approximately $4
to $6 million. Funding for the project will come from general
obligation bonds which have to be paid back over 15 years, not
in one lump sum. There are over 500 communities in the U.S.
with some form of a municipal utility providing cable, Internet,
telephone or some combination of the three. Not one of them
has failed. Not one of them has resulted in higher taxes. If
however, our communities become the first in the nation to fail,
we would be obligated to make the annual payments on the bonds.
There are a number of ways this can be accomplished. Some of
it would be covered by the user fees; the fiber network could
be leased to other businesses; revenue from sales taxes could
be tapped. Worst case scenario, if no one signs up for the service
and every dollar has to be repaid from property taxes, it would
result in about $145 a year on a house with an assessed value
of $200,000. That's not the market price for the house, that's
the assessed value of the house that is used to compute property
|The rumor about escalated electric rates
is ridiculous. The city electric is a separate business entity
and is NOT a tax. They can't raise electric rates to pay for
anything except electricity. As I mentioned in the previous
answer, if there are not enough subscribers to pay the full
annual payment due on the GO bonds, there are other ways to
make up the shortfall.
|The Feasibility Study projected that we
should get up to 34% of the residential cable market in our
area, but we need to get less than 25% for cable, less than
4% for Internet, and about 5% for telephone to break even. And
we don't need those percentages on day one. Remember, the repayments
are spread out over 15 years. And 74% of the residents surveyed
said they would be interested in a city-owned broadband utility
|Geneva is currently building a fiber optic
network connecting the city offices, emergency offices and schools.
Batavia and St. Charles already have a fiber network connecting
their city, emergency and schools. This was a separate project
that had nothing to do with the current proposal. None of the
cities has made any move in regards to this referendum, beyond
the feasibility study. And Geneva, in particular, is not a home
rule town and MUST have voter approval to proceed. St. Charles
and Batavia referendum questions are "advisory" in
nature and are like an opinion poll.
It is true that all three cities have CLEC status. This was
done primarily to allow the installation of fiber optic cable
on non city owned poles (for example ComEd). In many instances,
in order to serve the school districts with fiber optic connectivity,
the cities have had to use non city owned poles to reach schools
that fall within the school district boundaries, but are not
located within city limits.
|No, this is not true.
|The city and the schools have two completely
different revenue streams and taxing bodies. It is not possible
to use one dollar of money from the city funds for schools and
vice versa. Tax increases for school funding have absolutely
nothing to do with the broadband initiative.
|The city owns its own electrical utility,
and if you see city trucks working with cable, it may be electric.
You may also see trucks working on our existing municipal network
that serves all government buildings, school buildings, and
Not one dollar has been spent "preparing" the infrastructure
for a project that has not even been approved yet.
|At this point in time, because of the economies
of piggybacking on our own electric system, the fiber optic
network would initially only be built to existing city electric
customers. We're not sure what the plans might be for the township.
Hopefully this is so successful and brings in enough revenue
that the township areas can all be included at some point.