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Joe Wheeler EMC pushes plan for fiber optic system

Joe Wheeler Electric Membership Corporation has received the support of Hartselle City Council in its plan to install a high-speed fiber-optic system in Morgan and Lawrence counties.   

George B. Kitchens, general manager and CEO, appeared before the council at its regular meeting Dec. 8 requesting approval for tax abatements for property taxes for 10 years and construction-related taxes not otherwise earmarked for educational purposes through the Industrial Development Board of Decatur.  

Furthermore, Kitchens asked for the adoption of a resolution authorizing the abatement of municipal taxes as permitted under the Tax Incentives Act of 1992. The resolution was approved by unanimous vote.  

Kitchens said the project is designed to enhance the reliability and efficiency of Joe Wheeler EMC’s electric distribution system and make fiber optic broadband available to its customers through its subsidiary JWEMC Communications, EMC.   

This is a great opportunity that many in the Joe Wheeler service area are needing and wanting,” said Mayor Randy Garrison. Especially with many working from home and students on virtual learning, access to high-speed internet is a must.” 

Kitchens said the installation will begin in January or February 2021 in Morgan and Lawrence counties and reach Hartselle in late 2021.  

The council also 

revised the solid waste ordinance to appoint the public works director as the local health and solid waste officer to approve residential garbage charges exemptions for citizens whose only sole of income is Social Security benefits. 

authorized the mayor to sign an agreement with Retail Strategies to provide training to city personnel for the recruitment of new businesses.    

—tabled a request from Lektron to waive penalties and interest on a business license, pending the presence and consideration of a full council.  

The next council meeting will be Dec. 15 at 9 a.m.