Internet woes discussed in Toronto

TORONTO — Residents expressed concerns about the speed and reliability of the Internet in the city during Monday’s City Council meeting.

James Burkett told council during the past few weeks his wife, who works from home, lost more than 36 hours of vacation time because of connectivity issues.

“This is holding the city back,” Burkett said. “We want to fix not only our issues, but the city as a whole.”

Ron Paris Jr. said he has similar problems. He said the current cable providers are not holding to the statemandated minimum for quality of service and it is hurting the city.

“We have no business class (Internet) available here at all,” Paris said.

“It is going to affect new businesses and families who want to move here,” Burkett said.

Council President Frank McEwen said this is not the first time council has heard this complaint, but, unfortunately, it is also not something it can really control.

“We have approached ­– physically contacted — other companies, and they don’t want to come here,” he explained. “They don’t want to run all new lines because of the size of the city.”

Burkett said Bergholz recently got all new high-speed Internet and the village only has a population of 650 residents. He offered to research and provide the name of the company to council.

In addition to the problem with finding alternative providers, city officials said they have no control over the current providers. That is handled by federal authorities. The city is currently served by Jefferson County Cable and AT&T.

“We have no say over cable at all,” city attorney Craig Allen said.

After talking to council, Paris and Burkett said they are optimistic that if everyone works together they can fix the issue.

“I am confident the city is going to work together with us,” Paris said.

Councilmen Robert Bertram and Glenn Dickinson discussed the state of the roads in the city. Bertram said the state has recalculated the oil and gas taxes, opening up the possibility that some improvements can be made to the city’s roads.

Bertram made a motion to move $100,000 into the street account so that they can identify and repair streets.

Dickinson said if additional money is needed, they can make additional requests.

The motion passed 6-0.

Bertram told council that the slip repairs on county Road 46 were completed as of July 16.

He mentioned that when he went to review the job, he was disappointed in the surfacing and cleaning that had been done by the Ohio Department of Transportation. Bertram said he contacted ODOT and they promised to have it corrected.

Bertram told council the landbank would be assisting the city in demolishing two condemned homes on Henley Street and the old apartment building on North Fifth Street.

Dickinson said the water line replacement project on Biltmore Avenue has been completed and they city will move to Euclid Avenue next.

In other matters, council:

¯ Approved an ordinance allowing the city’s water superintendent to use the U.S. Bank credit card for purchases in his department and allowing the city to procure other credit cards.

¯ Passed an ordinance approving pay increases for all seasonal employees, retroactive to May 16.

¯ Passed a resolution designating Labor Day weekend to be declared Robert Urich weekend.

¯ Passed an ordinance was accepting the amounts and rates as determined by the state budget commission.

¯ Announced that a safety committee meeting will be held 6 p.m. on Monday.

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