Council takes last-minute paring knife to new Hillsboro budget

Staff writer

Hillsboro council members made one final snip from the proposed $9.4 million budget before passing it Tuesday.

Eliminating a $35,500 contribution to the Public Building Commission brought the 2017 mill levy down from a proposed five-mill increase to a three-mill increase.

Shekinah Bailey, field representative for USDA Rural Development, spoke to council members about the link between broadband internet service and rural development.

Fiber-based broadband internet service has boosted large agricultural operations as well as small businesses, Bailey said. It makes it easier for people to market their products and learn what they need to know.

“I think we’re headed for an inverse industrial revolution, because people are moving back to rural areas,” Bailey said.

Broadband allows hospitals to offer telemedicine treatment and schools to offer advanced classes only available online, Bailey said.

“It’s about making the abilities of the Internet available to your residents,” he said.

Bailey encouraged the council to work cooperatively with businesses and consider such strategies as offering long contracts to Internet providers for multiple government sites on the condition that broadband is made available to all residents. The strategy has worked well for other cities and counties, Bailey said.

In other matters, council members appointed Josh Ens to the Fire Department, adjusted the compensation strategy for the city attorney, approved invoices, and tabled a scheduled review of future city projects.

Last modified Aug. 18, 2016