To the Hawarden Independent/Ireton Examiner:
Selling HiTec is the most significant disservice to the Hawarden community that will affect it for years!
Why would the city sell HiTec to the low bid company Premier Communications for $2,750,000 resulting in one network offering services forever? They chose Premier Communications or who choose them? Why would the city not sell to Long Lines the high bid of $3,150,000? Long Lines already contracts with the city and helped us get started when no other private company wanted Hawarden in the business. If the city sold to Long Lines, there would be two companies offering services making rates and services more competitive and giving citizens a choice.
Why would the city of Hawarden not want that for the community? Those two companies think HiTec is valuable, why doesn’t the city? THE CITY SHOULD NOT SELL HITEC! Why would the city not have several open public hearings or community meetings discussing over the years of how the city was planning to sell HiTec? After all, it’s owned by the citizens.
The citizens voted to form HiTec — the city’s telephone, cable TV and internet utility in the 1990s. Hawarden Integrated Technology Energy Communication (HiTec) is a hybrid of fiber optic and coaxial cable. There are two underground fiber optic routes out of town to ensure citizens and businesses won’t be down. Yes, HiTec is a fiber optic network and valuable!
Years ago, the city planned to replace the coaxial cable with fiber optics to have a complete fiber optic network increasing speeds and services. Instead, over the past 15 years, the city transferred just under $1 million out of telephone, cable T.V. and internet combined. Approximately $775,000 in the last 11 years.
Why didn’t the city start a process of paying HiTec back? That alone, could pay for some of the upgrades we need now. A few years ago, the city installed conduit (orange pipe) underground and approximately 80 percent is installed. When replacing the coaxial cable part of the network, the new fiber could be run through the orange pipe to each home and business saving costs. Someone’s benefiting here and it is not the Hawarden community.Several other Iowa cities own similar networks and have replaced their coaxial cable or are in the process. They are successful! I didn’t realize the city had been planning to sell HiTec for years and even during a pandemic when the Iowa Capitol and Hawarden city hall was closed until April 28, 2021 — people were homebound, sick and losing jobs, and businesses closing. At that same time, the city amended an Iowa Code to eliminate getting two appraisals of HiTEc saving time and work. One that had to be approved by the Iowa Utility Board. That amendment expires in July 2022 so the city needs to get this sold quickly. HiTec is here because citizens wanted local control. Services were poor with the providers back in the 1990s and they had no plans to upgrade their outdated networks. There were no other companies that would serve the city.
Therefore, with a very forward-thinking city council and the citizens ‘yes’ vote, the city built their own. Keeping HiTec only assists with economic and community development. Many businesses depend on transportation routes — fiber optic networks, highways, interstates and rail transportation, etc. Having HiTec enhances the cities abilities. Ask any economic development expert. HiTec is an asset, just as valuable as water, sewer, electric, gas, or street utilities.
Recently, the newspaper printed a quote they thought I said and indicated I suggested using Local Option Sales Tax funds for HiTec. I never said that! It belongs to the hospital. CITIZENS CAN SAY ‘NO’ TO SELLING HITEC, JUST LIKE THEY SAID NO YEARS AGO WHEN A FEW PEOPLE FROM THE CITY WANTED TO GET RID OF THE HOSPITAL.
If HiTec is sold, you will never get it back. You will be left with one company to rely on forever.
DON’T APPROVE THE SALE OF HITEC — VOTE NO SEPTEMBER 14!
No Vendan HITEC — Vota Septiembre 14 — Vota No Por Favor