Tuesday, November 24, 2020

Wisconsin Voter Alliance files Suit in Wisconsin Supreme Court

The Wisconsin Voter Alliance (WVA) is an organization founded by a group of concerned voters right here in Kewaunee County. The WVA is an organization dedicated to, the promotion, retention and integrity of our voting systems in Wisconsin and throughout our Country.

An Emergency Petition was filed with the Wisconsin Supreme Court, today Nov 24th, concerning the Nov 3rd Presidential election.  The Court received this document this morning and subsequently assigned a number to this case.

The voting malfeasance referenced in this petition largely occurred in the counties of Milwaukee, Dane, Racine and Kenosha.  Kewaunee County, along with most rural counties have County Clerks that run a tight ship when it comes to elections.

Folks, I would hope you take the time to read this 47-page petition(see link below).  The Wisconsin Voter Alliance (WVA) and individual plaintiffs who brought this petition to the Wisconsin Supreme Court firmly believe that our election process in Wisconsin has gone off the rails.  Further, unless, and until, our Wisconsin Election Commission, a handful of County Clerks, and voters who willfully break the laws are made to follow the law, we will never have a fair election.  

Just watch, hand in hand with these miscreants, who willfully disobey our election laws, the biased media will immediately attack the findings of proven malfeasance this lawsuit presents. That is reality in today's political climate. 

The WVA was formed right here in Kewaunee County by a group of people who are concerned about the integrity of our voting system.  Currently our system of voting is broken, and it needs to be fixed.  Clearly that is brought to the forefront in this petition.  

Although this petition clearly deals with the cheating schemes that were used to affect the Presidential election, you will see that President Trump's name is not mentioned once.  The reason for that is, this petition supports the basic tenants of the WVA which is interested in maintaining and preserving integrity in our election process. 

Please follow us on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/PreservingVoterSystem 

As this moves forward, I will continue to update information on Facebook and with additional emails.

 I can't begin to tell you how many man hours of research and work have gone into getting this petition completed.  It was a behemoth project.  I want to thank the Thomas Moore Society for their brilliant lawyers, Bill Mohrman and Erick Kaardal, they have been great to work with.  I also want to thank all those folks who helped me find the right people who provided sworn affidavits and also thank those who individually signed on as petitioners in this case.   

This fight has just begun.  The WVA will continue to fight the idea that money donated by billionaires like the Zuckerberg’s cannot be allowed to control our elections.

Ron Heuer, President, Wisconsin Voter Alliance

 Petition Filed with Supreme Court Nov 24


 

Wednesday, June 24, 2020

Our County Administrator now wants a contract!


Every taxpayer in Kewaunee County should be a bit concerned by the audacity of our County Administrator.  Why?  Because, after a 5-year stint with the County, he has received a 18.78% salary increase and now he is wanting the County to provide him with an employment contract because he is feeling insecure.  He wants a commitment from the County!



Kewaunee County Administrator Scott Feldt is now being paid nearly $108,000 per year as his annual salary.  Add on benefits and I am sure he costs us about $150,000 per year.  He started with the County on February 18, 2015, and since he joined the County, he has enjoyed a salary increase of 18.78%.  Not bad, Huh!  Meantime elected officials like County Clerk, Clerk of Court, Treasurer and Register of Deeds received 8.4% over the same period of time.

Here are tables that shows the salary increases by year since Feldt has come on board.  Note the 2015 annualized salary was $90,000, the $77,039 does not represent a full year.
            

Total increase for Administrator                 18.78%

Total increase for Elected officials                8.4%


Well, here is my response to this issue.......

Mr. Feldt, you want a commitment from the County?  On the contrary, you need to make a commitment to the County first. You have held the top administrative job in the County for about 5 years now and you still aren't feeling the joy of paying real estate taxes in our County.  Reason for that is, you still live in a rented apartment and haven't thought well enough of our County to purchase a home here.  I can only assume you have an apartment so you can vacate the County pretty much at will.

Why would/should the Administrator have a contract?  There are many public sector employees who have contracts for various reasons.  The employee may have special talents that can't readily be found or they may have outstanding experience that can't be matched or they are exemplary employees who are doing an outstanding job and would be difficult to replace.  In our case, I don't believe we have an Administrator that meets any of these talents or knowledge.  

Mr. Feldt had zero County Administrator experience when he was hired and his only experience so far has been his OJT (on the job training).  Also, since he joined the County, the County added a full-time Director of Finance who is doing a great job.  That position effectively took about 40% of activity and responsibility away from the Administrators job on a daily basis.  Also, a full-time Tourism person and a full-time Finance person in the Human Services department have been added.  So, in addition to the 18.78% increase in salary, he has received additional staff positions that overall reduced his workload.  And, those added personnel salaries and benefits cost the county an additional minimum of $250,000.

Further, Mr. Feldt needs to improve his communication skills in a number of areas.
  • Learn how to return telephone calls and emails on a timely basis both internally and externally.  
  • Improve the way he communicates with department heads and employees within the County.
  • Resurrect communication with Elected County Officials (he has managed to alienate a number of the elected officials to the point where there is little or no communication between them).
  • Issue a monthly "State of the County" newsletter so county residents are informed. 
My message to the Chairman of the Board and to all the Board Supervisors.  No contract until after a comprehensive employee evaluation is completed with Mr. Feldt that identifies specific areas that require improvement.  This evaluation should also set milestones for improvement, and until such time those milestones are achieved, there should be no contract nor another salary increase.





Thursday, June 11, 2020

Why are County Bureaucrats Pushing back on Requests for Information on Bug Tussel Broadband Deal?

Since I have been pursuing the information concerning the Broadband Expansion debacle in Kewaunee County, I have uncovered yet another set of circumstances that are questionable as to how the Administrator is guiding this project along while not being upfront with information.

Administrator Feldt claims there were four companies that bid on the Broadband expansion RFP.  That is not correct.  Mercury.net, the internet provider with the most infrastructure in the county, was not given the chance to present to the Broadband Committee.  Question is why?

Presentations to the Broadband Committee were to hear from the individual presenters on Oct 25th, RFPs were to be submitted to the County by Oct 22nd.  I have copies of a series of emails between David Sovereen, President/Owner of Mercury.net that cast some question as to how the Administrator is handling his duties and responsibilities. 

Here is a synopsis of the emails:
Oct 23rd, email from Sovereen to Administrator Feldt where Sovereen apologizes for submitting the information a day late because Sovereen had left his office on the 22nd for a doctor appointment and had forgotten to send the proposal outline on the 22nd.

Oct 24th, here is the email from Feldt to Sovereen.
Mr. Sovereen,

I apologize. I just reviewed your letter. I will schedule a separate phone conference to review your proposal. Actually, this should work out better as the committee will have spent 4 hours with other proposals.  The call will be after the 25th. I will call you the next week to schedule a time.

Thank you again for your proposal.

Scott Feldt
Kewaunee County Administrator

Phone: 920-388-7164

"We are what we repeatedly do. Therefore, excellence is not an act, but a habit." - Aristotle
 Following the Oct 24th email from Feldt, Sovereen never heard from Feld again, not even after repeated phone calls and emails.  Mr. Feldt has a habit/practice of not returning calls and in this instance, his not returning a call was dereliction of duty, plain and simple. 

Now here is more.  I submitted a request for information on May 31st and was shut down by the County Legal Counsel.  Here are the emails.  I would ask, what are these Bureaucrats hiding?  Why won't they willingly supply the information that is public record?

May 31, 2020

Mr. Feldt,

Consider this email to be my official request for additional information on the Bug Tussel / PSC Broadband issue.  

When the County receives the PSC Grant Contract document, I want a copy of that.  Also, when Bug Tussel comes forward with any type of contract in draft form for the County, I am requesting a copy of that document as well.

Ron Heuer
Kewaunee County Resident
920-255-4260

June 1, 2020

Your request for records related to Bug Tussel was forwarded to my office for review. Kewaunee County does not have any responsive records as of the writing of this email.

I can also tell you that Kewaunee County does not typically entertain what I will call “anticipatory records requests” (i.e. requests for records that a requester anticipates we will receive at some point in the future). You will have to make a future records request if you desire records in the County’s possession.

I am unable at this time to say with certainty whether or not Kewaunee County will release an initial draft of a contact because we do not have the document yet. I can tell you that generally speaking “drafts” are not records subject to disclosure under s. 19.32(2) of the Wisconsin Statutes. The County would also have to consider whether or not there are competitive or bargaining reasons under s. 19.85(1)(e) to keep the contract private while the negotiations are ongoing.  


Please consider your request for records is fulfilled, Kewaunee County does not have any responsive records.

Sincerely,

Jeff

June 2, 2020
Hello Jeffery,

OK, I understand that Kewaunee County receives so many requests for information that they are not capable of tracking a request that is anticipatory.  That makes sense.  So, unless I receive some idea as to when we expect the PSC contract I will submit the same request each day.  That way, no one as important as the Administrator will have to keep a log.

If you, or anyone else can tell me when the PSC report is "anticipated," I will hold my request until that date.

Thank you
Ron Heuer
Kewaunee County Resident / Real Estate Taxpayer

Friday, May 29, 2020

Kewaunee County Broadband Expansion, May 19th

The County Board Chairman Dan Olson invited Steve Schneider, the CEO of Bug Tussel to address the full board concerning the Bug Tussel proposal that had been approved by the Board previously. 

Board members had questions, and so do I.  I presented many of my questions in a letter to each of the Board members prior to their May 19th Board meeting.  Kewaunee County is poised to execute a nearly two million dollar tax spend with Bug Tussel.  Bug Tussel claims the County will be reimbursed for their investment ($960,000) over a 10-year period.  If indeed Schneider doesn't want the money, why then a 10 =-year payback?  Why not a 1-year payback?  What about a payback for the $960,000 from the PSC?

The entire Board meeting was recorded and can be viewed here.  May 19th Kewaunee County Board Meeting.

The dialogue concerning Broadband begins at 16 Minutes and 50 seconds.  At this time, a letter I submitted was read during the citizen input.  Following are some of the highlights of Mr. Schneider's presentation:

20 Minutes and 39 Seconds -  Schneider begins his presentation.  Says nothing of importance for five minutes, talks about childhood, life in Kellnersville, Wi.

26 Minutes and 00 Seconds - Schneider explains to the Board that if they don't spend the $960,000 of PSC money, that money will go someplace else, so they had better get onboard, or the train is leaving the station.  What a great reason to spend taxpayer money!

26 Minutes and 45 Seconds - Schneider claims the other companies that submitted proposals all asked for money and he did not.  Well, that is not true as, for example, Mercury.net didn't ask for any money.  Schneider wasn't a damned bit interested in Kewaunee County until he was able to get the commitment for $960,000 from the PSC with another $960,000 from Kewaunee Co.  A gift indeed!  Remember, Bug Tussel is getting paid by AT&T to array these towers with AT&T systems for cell phone switching. 

32 Minutes and 35 Seconds - Schneider justifies his taking the $960,000 of PSC money because he alleges other internet providers that have been providing service in the County have taken $8.7 million of federal taxpayer dollars over the years.

34 Minutes and 05 Seconds - First Schneider alleges that throughout the time with the Broadband Committee that he was interested in providing service to rural customers (that is what this is supposed to be about), then he indicates he will be providing services to the folks in the cities of Algoma, Luxemburg, Kewaunee, and the town of Casco. 

35 Minutes and 30 Seconds - Schneider says they won't service all customers, but will do his best to reach whomever he can.  Wow, that is a very impressive commitment for two million of our tax dollars.  He then goes on to talk about putting in poles on peoples properties to reach them (remember line of sight is the issue), then charge the customer an amortized rate for the pole.  He then goes on to say, if that customer cancels their service, they will come, take the pole back and re-deploy it?  Seems to me that if that is his plan, he'd have some problems getting the pole back if it is on private property.

40 Minutes and 00 Seconds - Schneider admits they will be getting about 200 people per site (per tower).  Let me see now, 7 sites (towers) times 200 people equals 1,400 people he would reach in the County.  That would be about 6.8% of the people in the County, a far cry from "ALL"!   He then goes on to say that after 5 years, they will have 8% of the market.  Why in God's name would that dismal performance be acceptable to anyone on the Board?  Schneider doesn't say this, but I would venture to guess that a majority of  the 1,400 people are already serviced by one of the 10 or so internet providers already here.

53 Minutes and 20 Seconds - Supervisor Romdenne asked for clarification as to what service Bug Tussel will provide because the RFP specified "service to all residents."  Schneider responds with some amorphous statement about people in a valley in upper Michigan who have snow in July.  Then goes on to say that Bug Tussel is entering the market to supplement the service that is already here.  I want to call a B.S. on that statement as the Broadband Committee didn't want a supplemental service for $2,000,000 of taxpayer funds.  Schneider also says here that if anyone wants to hold his company to any specific levels of how many customers will be serviced, he basically won't do business here.

56 Minutes and 00 Seconds - Mr. Feldt, our Administrator jumps in and explains to the board that when developing a RFP that you propose any and all items you may have dreamed of in hopes the vendor provides them.  I would argue, the opposite, an RFP is a document that succinctly lays out in exacting language what the requester is requesting.

57 Minutes and 30 Seconds - Supervisor Vollenweider asks "What determines success of this project?"  This was a great question that promoted a long silence.  Supervisor Romdenne provided the answer in saying the Broadband Committee hadn't gotten to that, it was never considered.  Now, this is where I really become a little agitated and unglued as a taxpayer.  In fact, I can't think of one person I know that wouldn't be upset that certain performance standards would be set and if those standards were not met there would be some penalty.  There has to be some accountability in this project, and if Bug Tussel doesn't want accountability, then we have selected the wrong vendor.

107 Minutes and 40 seconds - Schneider is asked by the Chairman how big of an area each of these towers would cover.  Schneider responds about 3.5 to 4 mile radius.  That means each tower would cover about 38 square miles; with seven towers, they would cover a total of 266 square miles.  Kewaunee County is 1,084 square miles meaning Bug Tussel would reach a whopping 24% of the County.  That my friends, is not ALL, IN FACT IT IS WOEFULLY LACKING.  Lacking because even with 24% reach, there will be the homes in the woods and the homes in the valleys that those towers won't reach either. 

In summation, the presentation by Mr. Schneider was disappointing and if the Board Members were listening carefully, they would come to the conclusion that spending $2 million of our tax dollars with Bug Tussel is a waste of our money.  There were a few good questions asked of Schneider, and the answers were disappointing at best.








Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Questions for County Board of Supervisors - May 19th meeting


This document was submitted to each Board Supervisor in order for them to prepare themselves for the upcoming May 19th Board Meeting when Steve Schneider of Bug Tussel was going to present to the board.  Twenty hard copies were also delivered to the County Clerk who ensured a copy would be at each of the Supervisors Positions.  My next report will recap the  presentation by Steve Schneider.


May 18, 2020
To:  Honorable Board Members
From:  Ron Heuer, former Kewaunee County Board Chairman/Concerned Taxpayer
Subject:  Broadband Information and Questions for Mr. Schneider of Bug Tussel & County Administrator

It is your responsibility as a board member to ensure that our tax dollars (both County and grant money) are spent wisely.  At tonight’s board meeting, Mr. Steve Schneider will be addressing the County Board concerning the Broadband Expansion Program as has been submitted to the PSC on a proposed joint venture with Kewaunee County.   
Bug Tussel has been selected as the vendor of choice to develop the broad band expansion in Kewaunee County.  This selection was made after the Kewaunee County Broadband Committee made determinations as to what services would be necessary for the County.  The Broadband Committee’s findings were then memorialized in an RFP that Bug Tussel responded to.  I have attached that RFP as a reference item to this document.  Just to be perfectly clear, if by spending this Kewaunee County s$960,000 combined with the PSC grant money we provide all Kewaunee County residents with 25mbps down and 10mbps upload I would totally support this broadband effort.

The well-intentioned Broadband Committee did recognize the problem in their meetings, that being, Kewaunee County is quite wooded and there are plenty of valleys where service is difficult to establish.  For the most part, the residents living in these areas are the underserved residents.
These broadband users require individual assistance to determine how a “line of sight” signal can either be constructed at their home or a signal can be redirected to their homes (see diagram following). 
That can only happen one of two ways, either by constructing a tower at the user site that allows signal to go over the woods, or if some type of pole or tower is erected at, or close to their home, to receive the signal.  Keep in mind, the Cambium equipped towers proposed by Bug Tussel for broadband are the same as those already existing in the County with Bertram, Mercury, Door County Broadband and others.  That Cambium broadband equipment allows only for “LINE OF SIGHT,” transmission.  If you can’t see the tower, it is very likely you can’t receive the signal.

I have spent hours researching information on this broadband subject, and have had both direct, and telephone meetings with professionals in the broadband industry in order understand this complicated subject.  I am quite certain that most Supervisors do not have the time to research this subject, so I have taken the liberty to provide each of you with a list of questions that you can pose while Mr. Schneider is in the room.


There are many questions that need to be answered, and tonight’s format will hopefully allow you to ask the questions that need to be asked.  Unless Bug Tussel will provide service as outlined in the above schematic, there is little or no reason to have them build seven towers in the county.

Steve Schneider, Co-founder and CEO of Bug Tussel has a great background in the cellular field, in fact, his business now primarily builds cell phone towers for AT&T.  In a cordial and informative phone conversation I had with him this past week, Steve made a statement that really concerned me. He made this statement “We don’t make money with broadband; we make our money with AT&T.”  To me, he could not have been clearer.  Building Cell Phone towers for AT&T is their core business and broadband are an add on.

I don’t fault Mr. Schneider for cashing in with Kewaunee County and the PSC grant.  He is a business man and he recognizes an extraordinary deal for his company when he sees it.  The nearly $2,000,000 found cash, a combination of taxpayer money from Kewaunee County and the PSC ensures a very low risk, high yield return for Bug Tussel.  Remember, his core business is tower building, towers which will be arrayed with AT&T equipment and leased by AT&T and later purchased by AT&T.  Further, AT&T under the FirstNet program receives Federal Funding to build these towers. Bug Tussel is for all intents and purposes acting as a contractor for AT&T.

Following are some critical questions that need to be asked, both of Mr. Schneider but also our legal counsel and the Administrator:
Question for Mr. Schneider: You erected 10 towers in Sauk County and, according to you, service a total of 3,000 people of the 64,500 residents of the County with those 10 towers.  That equates to about 4.6% of the population.  If those numbers are applied to Kewaunee County, we could anticipate service for about 940 people in our county of 20,400.  How can taxpayers possibly justify spending $2,100 per person for that small slice of the County’s population to receive broadband?  That is assuming that many would subscribe.  A knowledgeable source in Sauk County indicated the actual number of people covered by Bug Tussel is 2%.  if that is true, you can halve the preceding numbers and double the per capita cost to $4,200, not justifiable.

Question for Mr. Schneider: Today, your business has no presence in Kewaunee County, why do you need our money to come to our County? 

Question for Mr. Schneider: Today, on your website for Rapid Bug service in Sauk County you are providing service at 2mbps download and 1mbps upload for $49.99 per month.  In the PSC Grant Application, you represent Rapid Bug service 25mbps down and 5mbps upload for $49.99.  How can you justify the reduced cost to Kewaunee County residents?  Are the Sauk County residents being treated unfairly?

Question for Administrator Feldt:  On page 20 of the PSC Grant Application, e. Scalability, para 2 it states “At present, Bug Tussel Wireless has been working with AT&T wireless to deploy their services throughout rural Wisconsin. The towers that are being built via this project will also be made available for FirstNet coverage.”  FirstNet is an independent authority funded already with $40 Billion dollars managed within the U.S. Department of Commerce.  In 2017 AT&T were awarded a 25-year contract to build out the FirstNet network.  Is there any liability to the County if the Federal Government is funding AT&T for these towers and then Kewaunee County and the PSC are paying for them as well?”

Question for Administrator Feldt:  Is it right or fair for the County to pick a winner in awarding a company that hasn’t done business in the County heretofore?  Even though the County went through an RFP process, are we opening the County to a law suit from companies that are already providing service to the County?

Questions for Mr. Schneider: You have stated Bug Tussel will be paying the $960,000 back to the County over a 12-year period.  What interest is this money going to bear?   Also, what financial penalties are going to be in place if you fail to make a payment?  What guarantees/collateral are you providing the County to ensure you will pay the money back?

Questions for Administrator Feldt: On the Kewaunee County RFP – Proposal Scope it states - Provide broadband (high speed internet) of at least 25 down and 10 up for all rural residents within Kewaunee County, preferably higher than 100mbps down and 25mbps up. What does the word all mean?  Additionally, in the grant application, it lists the townships covered as; Red River, Carlton, West Kewaunee, Franklin, Casco and Mischicot.  What about the townships of Montpelier, Pierce, Lincoln, Ahnapee, and Luxemburg Township?  In as much as they are not mentioned, do they get service?
Questions for Administrator Feldt: How is success, or failure of this broadband venture going to be determined?  What types of reporting will you require from Bug Tussel?  By the number of homes/residences serviced?  Do we have any expectation or goal as to how many homes should be serviced?  What recourse does the County have if the seven towers are constructed and we only see one or two percent of the County served?  What penalties will there be in the contract?

Questions for Mr. Schneider:  What type of monthly reporting will you provide Kewaunee County as to number of customers/residents you are serving, the type of service the customers are receiving and location of customers?  Will this be part of the contract and will there be penalties assessed to Bug Tussel if certain number of customers is not attained?

Question for Mr. Schneider: Currently, you have zero employees in Kewaunee County.  How many Kewaunee County residents will you be employing?

Questions for Mr. Schneider: Based on the schematic in this document, if a resident/customer cannot receive signal from one of your towers and you have to reach them by rerouting the signal, who pays for any tower or pole and related costs to put that type of service in?  What is a reasonable time frame from a request like that until the service is established?   What if you are delayed, is there a penalty to Bug Tussel?

Questions for Mr. Schneider: What is the timetable for installing these towers?  When will service to prospective broadband users be available?  Will these timetables be part of the contract and will there be, or should there be, financial penalties in the event your company fails to perform?

Question for Mr. Schneider:  In the Grant Application you list existing broadband providers as TDS and Centurylink.  Why wasn’t a complete list of companies including Bertram, Mercury.net, Door County Broadband, Hughes Net, AT&T, Spectrum, Verizon, ViaSat, Cellcom, submitted? 

Questions for Mr. Schneider: On page 2 of the PSC grant application you claim 12,115 residential locations will have access to the service.  Then on page 13 of the application (table 1) you represent 7,886 people will have service.  When the number 7,886 is divided by 2.45, the average number per household, the actual households reached would be 3,218.  What is the right number 12,115 or 3,218?
Further On page 14, (table 2), the total population of Kewaunee County is 20,434, yet you say they will service 29,960 people.  Even taking out the 4,011 from the Tisch Mills (table 1, page 13), site assuming they are Manitowoc County and you still are representing a number served of 5,200 people more than are in the County.  Keep in mind, also, there are somewhere between 15% and 20% of the total population who don’t even want internet service.

Question for Mr. Schneider:  On page 15, of the PSC grant application, you claim, on your business map, you will reach and provide service to 199 businesses.  Most, if not all, of the larger businesses have already solved their internet needs by cutting deals with various vendors.  What about the businesses in the townships of Montpelier, Pierce, Lincoln, Ahnapee, and Luxemburg?  In as much as they are not mentioned, do they get service too?
Question for Mr. Feldt: The Covid 19 pandemic has severely impacted revenues for the County, sales tax, gas tax, revenues for example will be much less than projected.  Would it be more prudent to use this money to plug the holes in our budget rather than spending it on this project?
This list of questions needs to be answered along with any and all questions individual County Supervisors may have. 

Wednesday, May 13, 2020

Moving the goalposts on Kewaunee County Broadband

Lies last only a moment, but the truth lasts forever

Our silver-tongued Kewaunee County Administrator Scott Feldt is now moving the goalposts on the Kewaunee County Broadband project. He effectively did this at the Monday, May 11th meeting of the Executive Committee.  

When he was asked by one of the attending Supervisors why the whole County (all residents), were not going to be serviced by Bug Tussel, as had been represented by Bug Tussel, our lead Bureaucrat Feldt responded;  "No one broadband company can provide broadband service to all the customers in any County."

Now, keep in mind, this is the same Administrator, that for months, sat on the Kewaunee Broadband Committee, attended those Committee meetings, and then crafted the official broadband RFPHere is the verbiage directly from the RFP (click here to see the County's RFP): "Proposal Scope: Provide broadband (high speed internet) of at least 25 down and 10 up for all rural residents within Kewaunee County)."  Notice it says all, not some.

Administrator Feldt, throughout the months leading to the construction of the RFP, had been steadfast about ensuring any money spent by the County would guarantee that all residents would have broadband made available.

I hate repeating myself over and over, but the problem with this entire boondoggle spending $960,000 of County money and $960,000 of State PSC grant money on the project, as presently laid out, is a waste and will not meet the expectations of the residents of Kewaunee County.

This project should be halted in its tracks and a proper assessment of what county residents require for broadband service should be completed first.  The haphazard survey completed by the County turned out to yield anecdotal comments from people who didn't have, or didn't like their current broadband service.  

Yes, there are areas that are under-served, we need to identify them and then get the service directly to them.  Garbage in, garbage out. 

Monday, May 11, 2020

Kewaunee County Broadband Expansion -- Continued investigation of Bug Tussel Documentation

The memo below starting with the date May 11, 2020 was sent to each Kewaunee County Board Member yesterday.  

Tonight at 6:30 PM the Executive Committee will be discussing contracting with Bug Tussel for Kewaunee County Broadband Expansion.  What I am trying to point out to every member of the board are inconsistencies of the entire process of this venture.  Bug Tussel has misrepresented information to the PSC in this application that spends $1,960,000 of our taxpayer money, and they will never deliver the service that was clearly stated in the Request for Proposal that the County had put out for bid.

This is a complicated subject, and if you have not read my initial blog on this subject, I would highly recommend you do that.  It will help to clarify the entire issue.  Heuer, April 18th Blog on this Subject


May 11, 2020

 Supervisor --------, District --, Kewaunee County Board of Supervisors

Lies last only a moment, but the truth lasts forever

Hello ------,

Your County Administrator Scott Feldt continues to push the Broadband expansion plan for the County by placing this item on the Executive Committee Meeting for May 11th, 2020: “Item 7. Discussion: PSC Broadband Expansion Grant – Contract”  (click here to see the County's RFP) 

If the County is to go forward with this, certain to be, ill-fated plan and proceed to contracting with Bug Tussel, the contract must specifically state the requirements and goals to be met for compliance. It must contain definitions of what constitutes contract completion. There must be provisions in the contract to ensure that Bug Tussel indeed delivers all requirements of the Contract. There must be criterion established to determine if the contract has been fulfilled by Bug Tussel.

This is key to the entire project.  Kewaunee County Broadband Committee’s Request for Proposal, under the Proposal Scope section has this sentence; Provide broadband (high speed internet) of at least 25 down and 10 up for all rural residents within Kewaunee County, preferably higher than 100mbps down and 25mbps up.

That sentence is the essence of the entire RFP, and Bug Tussel must guarantee they will produce that result for this project to be a success. 

Taking that into consideration a thorough review of the Broadband Expansion Grant Application (Click Here to see the Actual Grant Application) submitted to the PSC by Bug Tussel Wireless, Inc. at no time, in the document, refers to that type of service delivery.  In fact, throughout the document there appears to be mistruths and inconsistencies.  These following items and issues need to be clearly addressed by Bug Tussel and must be incorporated into any contract between Bug Tussel and Kewaunee County.

Inconsistencies and mistruths directly from the Grant Application in relation to the Kewaunee County Broadband Committee Request for Proposal.

·        In their presentation to the Broadband Committee they represent “Rapid Bug” service as 2mbps down and 1mbps upload at $49.99. 

o   Yet, in the grant request they represent “Rapid Bug” as 25mbps down and 5mbps upload at $49.99.  Which is correct?  

o   Neither one of these meets the RFP requirements of 25mbps and 10mbps! 

o   What is there proposed charge for the RFP requirement?

·       Provide broadband (high speed internet) of at least 25 down and 10 up for all rural residents within Kewaunee County, preferably higher than 100mbps down and 25mbps up.

o   All means all, not some. 

o   In the Grant Application, they list the Townnships covered as; Red River, Carlton, West Kewaunee, Franklin, Casco and Mischicot. 

o   What about the the townships of Montpelier, Pierce, Lincoln, Ahnapee, and Luxemburg Township?  In as much as they are not mentioned, do they get service?

·       Again, in the Grant Application they are to list existing broadband providers, they list two, TDS and Centurylink. 

o   What about Bertram, Mercury.net, Door County Broadband, Hughes Net, AT&T, Spectrum, Verizon, ViaSat, Cellcom, all of whom are providing service in the County at this time? 

o   Why the obfuscation, the omission and dishonesty?

·       In the Grant Application, page 1, they claim they will serve 199 Businesses and 12,115 Residential Locations, that is interesting when on page 5 they represent there are a total of 9,462 Housing Units in Kewaunee County according to the Census 2018. 

o   Once again, a misrepresentation of facts.  When people or organizations misrepresent facts, it should send a warning to whomever is dealing with them. 

·       Placement of 7 towers with 4 of the seven in the bottom 1/3rd of the County is suspect at best.  It appears by the tower placement that Bug Tussel is choosing to place these AT&T equipped towers to more facilitate their Cell tower building business for AT&T.  Rather than benefiting the broadband effort.

·       Note on page 7 of the Grant Application under c.  There is mention of two types of broadband service 25mbps/5mbps and 100mbps/20mbps within the range of the proposed towers.  They go on to list the names of the tower locations to be; Bay View, Bolt, East Krok, Gregorville, Norman, Ryans Corner, and Tisch Mills.  This further confirms no commitment to the balance or the County.

·       On page 2 of the application Bug Tussel claims 12,115 residential locations will have access to the service.  Then on page 13 of the application (table 1) Bug Tussel represents 7,886 people will have service.  When that number is divided by 2.45, the average number per household, the actual households reached would be 3,218.  That is 26.5% of the total households represented on page 1 of the application.  This is total misrepresentation of the facts by Bug Tussel. 

·       On page 14, (table 2), the total population of Kewaunee County is 20,434, yet they say they will service 29,960 people.  Take out the total of 4,011 from the Tisch Mills (table 1, page 13), site assuming they are Manitowoc County and you still are representing a number served of 5,200 people more than in the County.  Keep in mind, also, there are somewhere between 15% and 20% of the total population who don’t even want internet service.

·        Page 15, Business map claims they will reach and provide service to 199 businesses.  Most, if not all, of the larger businesses have already solved their internet needs by cutting deals with various vendors.

·        Page 16, they talk about “last mile service,” and they introduce AT&T Mobility.  That service is already available in the service area and is also offered by Verizon, Cellcom and others.

·        Page 17, fourth paragraph, very important, this is where they admit they will not be servicing “all” customers in Kewaunee County.  It is carefully worded and says, “We will provide broadband internet services of 25mbps download and 5mbps upload for $49.99 per month rate in the proposed coverage areas illustrated in Figures 4 – 11.  If you carefully scrutinize those maps, you see various colored bans around the proposed towers.  Typically, a tower is engineered to cover an area 3 – 5 miles around that specific tower. Beyond that, typically there is no service.   

o   Remember, line of sight, if a home is in a valley or covered in its surrounds by trees, there will be no service.

·        Page 19, a. Matching funds indicates the Kewaunee County Board approved a resolution on 12/17/2019 which memorialized the county’s financial support for the project and the possibilities the broadband expansion will provide for the county’s constituents.  Note it doesn’t say “part of the constituents or a few of the constituents, it simply says constituents.  Which again means all!

·        Page 20, c. Existing Broadband Service, once again here, Bug Tussel misrepresents the number of broadband operators in Kewaunee County indicating there are two, when in fact, there are about 10 providers.  Why the dishonesty?

All these issues, and more need to be addressed.  But in addition, these items should be considered and added to any contract Kewaunee County would enter with any broadband supplier.

·        First, and most important, service for all is All, not some.  So, the contract must clearly spell out how Bug Tussel will reach all the residents in the County.  As part of that description, there has to be plans to reach those underserved pockets (people surrounded by trees or in a valley) and those plans must include pricing for any special circumstances.  A special circumstance would be if a customer does not have line of sight to a tower, and a secondary pole or tower would be required.  Who pays for that, what is the timeline for Bug Tussel to respond to that type of request and what is the penalty to Bug Tussel if they fail to provide that service?.

·        What is the reporting requirement to the County as to the progress of Bug Tussel actually providing service to customers?  How many customers, when signed, what type of service are they receiving, etc.

·        How is success in this project determined?  What factors are considered?  Number of customers?  Speed Tests? 

·        Who has the responsibility in the County to ensure the project is being completed on schedule and that ALL residents are being served?  How is that even determined.

·        What is the incentive to Bug Tussel, if any, to sign up customers?  What incentive, if any, is Bug Tussel providing to the end user to move them to Bug Tussel?

·        Broadband Technology is changing rapidly, in fact, about every 3 to 4 years all the equipment needs to be changed out and upgraded.  Is that covered in the contract?

·        What if Bug Tussel fails to meet timelines or customer signups?  What is the penalty, how does the County get its money back?

 

Respectfully submitted by

Ron Heuer
E3530 Townline Road
Kewaunee, WI 54216
920-255-4260  /
ronheuer@gmail.com

 I have officially requested that Chairman Olson, be cited at the citizen input part of tonight's meeting and that the letter be made part of the official minutes of the meeting.

 If you haven’t had the chance to read what I have already written on this subject, I have attached it hereto.  This information was posted April 18th, 2020 on my blog Heuer, April 18th Blog on this Subjectwww.ronheuer.com