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South Carolina County Advances Internet Access Plans

With Orangeburg County, S.C., receiving a $9.75 million USDA grant to expand broadband infrastructure, more than a thousand residents there have become one step closer to receiving Internet access.

by Bradley Harris, The Times and Democrat / May 6, 2020

(TNS) — Over a thousand Orangeburg County, S.C., residents are a step closer to receiving internet access.

The county is receiving a $9.75 million USDA grant to expand broadband infrastructure.

“Because of COVID-19, you have seen how important broadband is, and it’s also magnified the problems we have in our rural communities and areas that don’t have significant broadband,” County Administrator Harold Young said.

Orangeburg County Council unanimously approved a resolution during Monday’s meeting authorizing the county to meet the closing requirements for the grant.

“This is necessary for us to be able to take advantage of the funding that we got through USDA, Congressman (James) Clyburn and several others that have helped and worked with us. We’re proud to know that we received that USDA broadband to expand our broadband capabilities,” Young said.

Council accepted the USDA Rural Development Telecommunications Program grant during an October 2019 council meeting.

The total cost of the project is more than $13 million. The county is providing a $3.5 million match for the grant.

The county will provide information regarding the areas that will receive the broadband services in the near future, Young said.

Also during the meeting, Orangeburg County Council gave first-reading approval to two budget-related ordinances.

Council approved first reading by title only of an ordinance to provide appropriations for fiscal year 2020-21, for the levy of taxes on all taxable personal real estate and properties in the county and the expenditure of taxes and other revenues coming into the county.

Council also approved first reading by title only of an ordinance to provide appropriations for Orangeburg-Calhoun Technical College and other public and special education purposes.

“We’ll still be moving forward with the budget process. Just keep in mind, … we’re still trying to balance the revenue that was lost due to the COVID-19 shutdown, and we don’t know potentially how long it’s going to be, so we need to make sure we keep that in mind as we budget throughout the fiscal year,” Young said.

©2020 The Times and Democrat (Orangeburg, S.C.). Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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