Normally, I ignore Mr. Neyer’s rantings for the blustery grandstanding statements that they are, but just in case some people are tempted to believe the tripe that he wrote in Wednesday’s Tribune, I want to refute it.
Contrary to Mr. Neyer’s allegations, the city’s fiber is currently separated into its own budget category apart from the utilities. P.S. It is currently running in the black.
Google Fiber is considering wireless access because they currently have to negotiate for access to poles that are owned by the competition. This not only adds costs to their installations, but may also prevent installations in some areas. Pole usage is not a problem in Chanute, as we currently own our utilities and poles and have our own fiber backbone.
The subject of fiber keeps coming up because we see the value in it – for future technology, for business, and for creating new business and jobs in our community. CRDA Executive Director Matt Godinez said recently about our fiber, “At the conferences I go to, they say that they’re jealous of everything we own.” That’s great, but if it isn’t utilized, we can’t be a progressive role model for anyone. I applaud his initiative to continue to push to market what we have.
Coach John Wooden once said, “If you don’t have time to do it right, when will you have time to do it over?” What Mr. Neyer calls “obstruction,” I call “thinking things through in order to get them right the first time.”
Jeff Cantrell didn’t obstruct anything. He did his job and asked the questions that should be asked when something as monumental as Orizon is presented as a business opportunity. That’s why we hired him.
As a result of the Orizon project’s approval being ramrodded through the city commission, hundreds of thousands of dollars have been added to the cost of the project – things that could have been factored in or handled differently if the questions had been answered, and the city had been allowed the time to investigate. I’m certain that we haven’t seen the end of additional “unforeseen” expenses because the questions and points made by our city manager were not completely addressed.
Jeff Cantrell stated that he applied for the position in Prescott for its development in aviation, which matched his aviation degree. Plus, he had an opportunity to relocate to an area where both he and his wife had family. It was a unique situation that would have been wonderful for him, but did not pan out.
Mr. Neyer thinks we should drop the subject of fiber because he “completely refuted the cost analysis,” and that we should “beat the bushes for a new city manager.” He says this as though anyone who thinks otherwise is a buffoon.
Fiber-wise, we still have a great opportunity to expand and grow. Again, according to Matt Godinez, the “fiber optic connection was a huge factor in Orizon Aerostructure’s decision to locate in Chanute.” This will be true for other businesses, too. Joining the 21st century is fundamentally important for our city’s future.
City manager-wise, we should be grateful for every minute Jeff Cantrell chooses to stay in Chanute. His professionalism and expertise in city management is something we need to appreciate and support wholly as a community.
So Mr. Neyer, the horse ain’t dead. Someday Chanute will be able to say that it is current with technology and ready to welcome more business and growth. Enough people believe in it to keep the horse alive.