Free wi-fi for downtown

PLYMOUTH — City council members voted this week to enter into an agreement with DC Tech Solutions, LLC, a Plymouth company.
DC Tech will provide high-speed Internet service to city departments in exchange for being allowed to place its equipment on Plymouth’s two water towers and on top of the fire department. In addition, DC Tech will supply free wireless Internet service to the downtown area, a $5,000 value.
“There aren’t many towns our size offering free wireless downtown,” said councilman Mark Neidig during the meeting. “For tourism, and for downtown residents, it’s a good asset.”
The boundaries for downtown wi-fi will be from Center Street to Water Street, east to west, and from Laporte Street to Washington Street, north to south. Currently, Plymouth does have a contract with AT & T for its equipment to be on one of the city’s water towers. Council members commented, however, that it is common for Internet providers to share space with each other.
The total cost to the city for the switch to internet service from DC Tech is only the electricity running to the equipment, which is $96 per year per location. With equipment at three locations, the city will pay less than $300 for the service, saving around $10,000 that they would have spent on Internet service for each city department. Previously, Plymouth’s Internet provider has been CenturyLink.
Brent Martin, from PIDCO (Plymouth Industrial Development Corporation) said at the meeting that the corporation would purchase the equipment to be placed on the towers.
“(PIDCO) wants to make sure that our downtown stays in good condition,” said clerk-treasurer Toni Hutchings later.
Hutchings also noted that the wi-fi downtown would be up and running as soon as the contract is signed and DC Tech can install the equipment.
Also at the city council meeting Monday:
• Councilman Mike Delp reported that the owner of the piece of equipment on a lawn on S. Michigan Street has been notified to remove the equipment. The owner is expected to do so by the end of the week.
• Hurschel Hunter, of Plymouth FOP Lodge 195, presented a plan to bring the Little 500 go-cart race back to Plymouth. The race, which first took place 22 years ago, raises funds for non-profits and charities, as well as brings visitors to the city. Hunter noted that the event would give downtown merchants an opportunity to promote their businesses.
“We are seeking preliminary approval,” said Hunter to the council, adding that he had previously spoken with several businesses about the idea.
Hunter will prepare an informational packet for the council and speak with them again in the July meeting.
• Mayor Mark Senter asked that the flags in Plymouth fly at half-staff from sunrise until sunset Thursday to honor the memory of former mayor James E. Yeazel, who passed away last Saturday.
• The council discussed paid holidays for city employees for 2012. The ordinance presented kept all paid holidays the same as they were last year. Councilman Mike Delp stated that he believes another holiday should be taken off the list, because “it’s out of line with what general public holidays are” but that he would approve the ordinance. Councilman Neidig said that he spoke with the Plymouth Fire Department about its needs and would vote against keeping holidays the same for next year. He also commented that he would like to see an amendment to the ordinance. The ordinance was approved 3-2 to keep paid holidays the same for 2012.
• Another ordinance was presented to fix the salaries of city officials and employees for 2012. Councilman Neidig remarked that he would like to city to eventually work toward a merit pay system. The ordinance was approved 3-2.