RS Fiber Cooperative is estimated to fall just over one million dollars short in the fiber optic cable project that is advertised as enabling more than 6,200 potential customers with access to high speed internet and taxpayers in the cities involved are footing the bill over the next two years.


The news came at the Joint Powers Board for the RS Fiber Cooperative: the project would come up more than a $1 million short.

That means the nine cities involved will have to chip in to pay the economic development loan bond.
 
"It was not something that we wished to have to plan for as with everyone who has a budget, whether it's a household or a business, you have unexpected ups and downs in your budget and this happened to be an unexpected one, but not something that we can't manage," says Julie Trebelhorn, Winthrop Council Member.

With over $55 million dollars borrowed to finance the project, there's hopes that the one million dollar deficit is just a temporary setback.

"I believe that a majority of people still support the project, people are dismayed by the recent bump in the road if you want to call it that, but I think that there are always people on both sides," says Trebelhorn.


Among the project's most vocal critics is Lance Wiborg of Lance"s LLC, who has known about the project since the beginning.
 
"I was on the EDA board when this got proposed and it sounded like a good idea at the time, but the more I thought about it I thought the government entity that is going to be handling the money... I've never seen efficiency come out of anything the government seems to do," says Wiborg.

Wiborg says there was a lock of public involvement.

"It was never voted on by the public, this was done by the government offices, city councils, township boards. They got together and said yeah we think this is going to be a good idea let's do it," says Wiborg.


Trebelhorn says the operation will be continued in order to keep up with the times.


"We need to be able to plan for not just what we need today and tomorrow, but what we need a year from now or 10 years from now," says Trebelhorn.