Representatives from Charter Communications presented information about planned service expansions at Liberty Town Council's July 18 meeting.

Elizabeth James, Charter manager of state and governmental affairs in Indiana, explained Charter is moving its Spectrum internet service into Union and Franklin counties using federal funding through the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund (RDOF) to bring high-speed internet connections to areas currently not served by a broadband internet service provider. 

RDOF will fund significant infrastructure development in Union County, although the Town of Liberty is already served with high-speed internet meeting federal guidelines and not applicable to receive RDOF funds. However, because Charter will be building infrastructure to serve residents and businesses throughout Union County, it will naturally be running fiber optic cables through town. As that infrastructure is built, connections will be made available within the town. Homes immediately adjacent to the fiber optic runs are expected to be connected first with further expansion expected in the future. A handful of addresses in southern Union County and northern Franklin County are scheduled to be activated as early as next month with expansion throughout Union County expected by March 2023. 

LTC members were receptive to the availability of new service and felt it would be well received by Liberty's residents. Charter will be contacting residents with offers as the service rolls out in the area.

Also discussed:
-Liberty Police Department Chief Andrew Jordan presented information about an automated license plate reader (ALPR) camera, quoted at $2,500 per year with a  $350 set up fee, for one camera. The camera would be mounted at a high-traffic location and create a log of all license plates passing through its view, uploading the data to a central server accessible to thousands of agencies across the country. Jordan has pitched the idea to the county prosecutor and sheriff as well. 

-Adam Sitka, project manager with Wessler Engineering working on the town's water main replacement project, brought an update on the project, including a more defined timeline.

-Union County Area Planning executive director Jeff Mathews brought news of a proposed Family Dollar in the southeast corner of Liberty, noting the plan is very preliminary. Mathews reviewed with the board how the process of a commercial new-construction project would proceed in the event this project moves forward and what approval would be required from the town, the county and the state. 

Liberty Street and Utility superintendent Matt Reuss voiced concern of how the site would be served by the town's existing sewer infrastructure. The connection would be far easier if the store were built after the county's planned sewer expansion.

-Union County special projects coordinator Olivia Chewning brought information about a grant offering through the Indiana Office of Community and Rural Affairs (OCRA) that could potentially fund a feasibility study for a new firehouse. Chewning is working with grant administrator Mike Kleinpeter on the project, which would include an income survey, preliminary engineering report, environmental review, local match commitment and potential land acquisition. Doing the feasibility study through the OCRA grant would save the town money on architecture fees and would get the town ready to apply for an OCRA grant for construction of a firehouse, if the LTC decides to move forward with a new facility. 

Ross Keasling and Matt Barnhizer, both LTC members and firefighters, voiced their support for a new, larger firehouse. Barnhizer noted the department has had to custom order smaller firetrucks, at a higher cost, in order to fit in the aging building. LTC agreed to invite Kleinpeter in for more information.