BERLIN — The town of Berlin approved using part of its remaining CARES Act funding to provide public WiFi for two lower-income subdivisions.
After spending about $18,000 for Welti Elementary, Holly Pond Elementary, and Fairview Elementary schools to install transparent desk dividers and other COVID-19 mitigation equipment, the town has about $16,100 left to spend, said Mayor Patrick Bates.
The funds come from the federal CARES Act, which stipulates that municipal governments must spend the money on measures to reduce the risk of contracting COVID-19, or on measures to accommodate the pandemic’s disruption to normal activity.
Bates recommended the town work with Sprout Fiber Internet, Cullman Electric Cooperative’s new internet provider, to get public wifi for subdivisions on County Road 1612 and County Roads 1619 and 1620. Bates said Sprout has been running fiber in the Berlin area and will begin beta testing with some of the residents soon.
“At the very least we can purchase the equipment we’ll need,” said Bates. He said he would also look into pre-paying for internet service for a year.
The mayor estimated the cost to be around $4,800, but said that was a rough estimate.
The council allocated another $1,200 for hand-free paper towel and hand sanitizer dispensers and equipment. The final $10,000 would be used to provide coronavirus care packages for residents and sanitizing wipes for the schools.
The council also agreed to move ahead with a building for the town farmers’ market. Bates said he’s still getting quotes and comparing them, but said, “I think they can get it up in short order.”
The frame for the sign was recently installed and it is expected to go up “anytime now,” said Bates.
In other business the council:
- Approved an increase in the monthly subscription to QuickBooks online from $35 per month to $70 month.
- Approved invoices and payroll.
- Approved the purchase of a document scanner for the town clerk.
The next meeting of the Berlin Town Council is scheduled for Monday, Dec. 21.