County won't pay for city Internet

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Moffat County will not pay for Internet access for any other entities, including the city of Craig and the school district.

Moffat County commissioners voted unanimously Tuesday to use pre-paid services funds for county projects only.

Pre-paid services funds are made up of tax dollars and grant money earmarked for high-speed Internet service.

The county's original high-speed Internet contract said pre-paid services funds could be used for other entities, including the city and the school district.

The county has more than $700,000 in pre-paid services funds

"We would be remiss to our constituents and taxpayers if we gave our money that has been collected by our taxes to other entities," Commissioner Darryl Steele said at Tuesday's meeting.

As of Tuesday, the city of Craig was the only entity to apply for pre-paid services funds.

The city's application asked the county to pay for the city's Internet service starting in July 2006, when the beanpole grant from the state runs out.

The beanpole grant currently pays for the city's Internet access.

The city's request would have cost the county $1,409.70 a month.

Mike Murphy, engineer and information technology technician for the city of Craig, declined to comment on the commissioners' decision.

Commissioner Tom Gray said keeping the money was the most equitable way for the county to spend it.

"It benefits all taxpayers the same way," Gray said, instead of only benefiting county residents who live in Craig.

Steele said financial security was part of the reason for keeping the money in the county's coffers.

"Moffat County's budget certainly has had some financial problems, and we still have financial problems," Steele said. "We need to be very careful in how we manage our money."

Steele said other entities need to pay for Internet service.

Commissioner Saed Tayyara agreed.

"There's no free lunch anywhere," Tayyara said.

Craig City Councilor Tom Gilchrist said he wasn't surprised by the commissioners' decision.

"I didn't think it likely that the county would give the city their pre-paid services for free," Gilchrist said.

Brandon Johansson can be reached at 824-7031.

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