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FD council candidate says he’ll stay out of broadband issue

Myers works for Mediacom, has conflict

A Fort Dodge City Council candidate who works for a communications company is pledging to avoid doing anything to influence decisions regarding a potential municipal broadband utility.

Justin Myers, who works for Mediacom Communications, is running against former Councilman Andy Fritz in Ward 2 in the Nov. 5 general election. On that same ballot, voters will decide whether the Fort Dodge city government should be allowed to establish a municipal broadband utility.

”The people get to make their opinions on municipal broadband known directly on Nov. 5,” Myers said. ”That is good enough for me.”

”If elected, I will declare I have a conflict of interest,” he added. ”That means I will have to abstain from any vote on broadband, and I will not even be present during any discussions on the topic. I have been saying this since day one.”

Myers said he has no interest in being part of the broadband discussion.

”I am not a representative of Mediacom and have no desire to get involved in the broadband discussion as a private citizen,” he said.

Fritz and Myers are seeking to replace Councilman Dean Hill, who will retire when his term expires at the end of this year.

Ward 2 is the southern half of the city.

City officials have been contemplating a municipal broadband utility as a potential way to improve service in the community.

But even if the voters say yes to the concept during the election, establishing a municipal utility will not be a sure bet. Voters in 70 Iowa communities have approved such a referendum, but so far less than 30 of them have established a utility.

The city has three options for improving broadband service.

Working in partnership with an existing provider is one of those options. Recruiting a new provider is a second option and establishing a municipal utility is the third option.