I’m often critical of municipal bond issues that either appear to be configured to avoid the necessary approval processes or appear to benefit private interests over public interests. The opacity of muniland creates plenty of dark places for odd dealings to occur. But earlier this week I read about the small Massachusetts town of Leverett, which had just conducted the most open and transparent bond approval process that I’ve seen. What was being decided was a $3.6 million project to build a broadband network connecting the 632 households in the community. The whole process is about as commendable as you could hope for.
From the Daily Hampshire Gazette:
Construction of a municipal fiber-optic cable network is expected to begin later this year after residents Saturday voted overwhelmingly in favor of a $3.6 million bond measure to finance the project.
Bids are expected by the end of the summer with construction to begin soon after, officials said.
“We’re expecting everyone in Leverett to have access to this network by 2014,” said Peter d’Errico, a member of the town’s Select Board and a leading supporter of the municipal fiber-optic system.
The Proposition 2½ debt exclusion override was favored by a margin of 462-90, with one blank. The 83.5 percent vote to support the project was well above the two-thirds majority needed to approve the override.