Town of Wrightstown to work on obtaining internet grants

Brian Roebke photo
Supervisor Jesse Juedes leans toward the Town Chairman Bill Verbeten’s laptop computer to talk to Town Clerk Donna Martzahl while during last week’s monthly Town of Wrightstown meeting.

By Brian Roebke
Improving internet reception in the town of Wrightstown is an important subject for some people who struggle to work online. Thus, the subject was on the town board’s agenda last week with discussion on ways to improve service.
Supervisor Jesse Juedes said he received some emails, including from Amy Burke, who appeared to talk about her neighborhood around Deer Haven Road and Ledgetop Drive.
“The hub is across from Greenleaf Landscaping and services the area to the north,” she said. “There are approximately 80 residences in the area that are likely to be serviced by that.”
CenturyLink services about 30 residences — less than half — in that area, and others have HughesNet or Bertrand.
“I’ve been working from home for a while and CenturyLink, their service is very poor,” she said. “It’s never been upgraded in the 18 years we’ve lived there.”
They’ve been told they’re in a permanent “exhaust” area which she fears means they will disconnect them eventually and she can’t use anything that’s cellular or satellite based for her work.
“If they don’t have another option or they won’t upgrade our area, we’re going to have to move,” she told the board.
The problem with rural service is the low density of need for service and the cost to provide that broadband service is high. The State of Wisconsin has recognized this and has made grants available, including $24 million in 2021.
Josh Davies of Ideal Technologies also attended the meeting because another area in the town contacted him about service and also participated in the discussion.
He’s proposing a fiber optic network that’s capable of up to 10,000 MB. “I’d be happy with 10, I have 1 ½ right now,” Burke said.
The Ridge Royal community came to his company and they were looking at doing a dedicated hub there, with residents bearing the construction cost, but he’s interested if there is more widespread support and funding.
“I think right now our engineer estimates for internet speed are about 100 MB starting out,” he said.
Upfront costs to homeowners in Ridge Royal are estimated to be $1,500-1,800 plus a monthly cost of around $100.
Juedes will work with Davies to map areas that need service and work on applying for a grant since the better solution is to have a wider area covered by broadband expansion.
Bill Vande Voort appeared before the board regarding his new Legacy Lane subdivision and road. The board agreed to have him construct the road with both binder and asphalt, since the road will be stronger with both of them put down.
“Because if we wreck the binder, then we have to start over,” Town Chairman Bill Verbeten said.
It’s hoped this can be done by Northeast Asphalt in conjunction with the bridge replacement work on Outagamie Road, that’s supposed to be open by Sept. 23. Mallard Road also needs to be done, and that was postponed last week due to rain.
The amount of the estimate for Legacy Lane, $109,139.50, will be put in escrow before the project is done, since developers must construct new roads to town specifications.
The speed limit on Elmro Road between Fair Road and Highway 96 was set at 25 mph. Juedes said the current speed limit is 35 but he’s heard comments that with more housing in that area, people are walking on the road and the speed limit seems a little fast.
When they set the speed limit, they determined 35 was the fastest a vehicle could go to still meet the curves in the road, so that’s what the speed limit was set at.
“It didn’t have anything to do with the population on the road or people walking,” Verbeten said.
With thoughts that 30 would be more appropriate, supervisors agreed to set the speed limit at 25, knowing many people will go 30.
Town Clerk Donna Martzahl, connected to the meeting remotely, said she has about 300 absentee ballots to go in the mail and inquired if the board thought they should get a secure dropbox for people to drop them off at the town hall instead of mailing, but determined there wasn’t a big need for the dropbox, but people can drop them off the day of the election and someone can come outside to get the them.
She said people can also call her to make an appointment to drop off their ballot.
Also approved was a “dead end” sign on Deer Haven Drive, since Burke told the board sometimes drivers think they can connect with Highway PP but find a dead end, many of them at a high rate of speed.
Verbeten also said if people are missed by Deyo Disposal for garbage or recycling pickup, they should call Deyo, which has been very responsive to people who’ve been missed. Martzahl stressed they should call Deyo the same day if they haven’t been serviced at the normal time.
Gary Pahl and Al Six received three-year appointments to the planning commission and Colleen McAllister-Fritsche and Dan Wiese received three-year terms on the board of appeals.
The board approved a request from Kevin Kussow to rezone two acres of Parcel W267-2 from Exclusive Ag to Ag-Residential on Blake Road.