High-speed internet coming to Callaway

More than a dozen people were bundled up and in high spirits Thursday as they filtered into the Holts Summit Board of Alderman meeting to hear what a woman in attendance called "a mystery announcement."

The mystery? Callaway Electric presented its plans to install Callabyte, a high speed fiber-optic internet service, broadening its range throughout Callaway County.

"It's for people that have had poor internet service for a long time or in some cases little to none," said Rob Barnes, business development supervisor at Callaway Electric.

Barnes said there was an urgent plea for the multi-billion dollar project. Callaway Electric is looking at it as a county-wide project as it already installed in Lake Mykee Town and work is underway in New Bloomfield.

The smallest plan it offers is 100 megabytes a second, followed by 500 megabytes then the top tier is one gigabyte. Phone, television and internet services will be available.

"We are still surprised that the landline service is something people still are taking," Barnes said. "But as you get out into the rural portions of Callaway County, cellphone service still doesn't work very well."

Callabyte is drafting an agreement and is dividing Holts Summit into three projects because of its size. It would be a non-exclusion 20-year franchise.

"Lake Mykee Town residents already have it," City Administrator Rick Hess said Wednesday. "They got it last year, and they love it. They said it's really fast, it's really stable and nobody that I know of has reported any outages."

In other business, a resident presented a "Breathe Easy" petition, which has 109 signatures.

"We've been having issues throughout town where there is really no place for our kids to go that is completely smoke free," the resident said.

She recommended signs be put up and for smoke-free buildings to have restrictions within 20 feet. She also wanted the park and especially the playground area to be smoke-free.

Holts Summit Mayor Landon Oxley recommended the city send letters to businesses asking them to be non-smoking outside.

"It's unenforceable without an ordinance, if you put a sign up, somebody is going to say I'm going to smoke underneath this sign," Alderman Charles Chamberlain said. "It would be OK unless you have an ordinance."

For now, Oxley proposed getting ideas from other towns and pulling together a plan by March.

The board also approved an ordinance banning people from putting signs such as garage sales or lost dog posters on utility or street sign poles. The board said there are exceptions for special circumstances.

Other items approved Thursday:

The final plat for the Serenity Springs Subdivision;

An ordinance transferring a small section of Old Highway 54 into Holts Summit;

An ordinance to combine chapters 85, 86 and 87 (cable, telephone and electric franchises) of the city code to get rid of redundancy; and

Buying a 2018 pickup truck for the sewer department.