Buchanan County Communities offer 1-Gig Broadband
Start Your Business in Buchanan County: March 16

Terry Toale Recognized as Financial Leader
Gas Tax Increase will Improve Transportation Infrastructure


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A weekly newsletter from the Buchanan County Economic Development Commission (BCEDC)

The primary mission of Buchanan County Economic Development (BCEDC) is to foster a strong economic environment which supports business, nurtures growth and new investment while attracting sustainable businesses and a quality labor force to our communities. The organization will rely on trusting relationships to unite the communities of Buchanan County to promote and facilitate economic development, and to improve the quality of life in our area by building sustainable wealth for those who live, work and play in this portion of the Cedar Valley Region of Iowa.
Buchanan County Communities Offer 1-Gigabit Broadband
“Knowledge is only potential power.
The ability to communicate unlocks the power of knowledge.”
(Independence, IA) In today’s international business climate, communication of knowledge is increasingly accomplished via the internet and broadband technology.  Companies that effectively and quickly share knowledge of their products and services will secure the power of increased profitability and an expanding business. Communities that offer expanded broadband services will position themselves to thrive in the digital age.  Jesup and Independence are communities that have achieved the 1-Gigabit communication challenge.
Governor Brandstad and President Obama recognize the importance of access to high speed broadband as both are advocating expansion of such services.  President Obama recently came to Cedar Falls to announce plans to expand America’s broadband footprint, because Cedar Falls is one of the first communities in the nation of offer 1 Gigabit broadband service.   President Obama said, “Today, high-speed broadband is not a luxury, it’s a necessity. This is about helping local businesses grow and prosper and compete in a global economy. It’s about giving the entrepreneur, the small businessperson on Main Street a chance to compete with the folks out in Silicon Valley, or across the globe. It’s about helping a student access the online courses and employment opportunities that can help her pursue her dreams.”
Like Cedar Falls, Independence and Jesup are communities that can offer up to 1 Gigabit broadband connections to businesses, schools and individuals. Hats off to Farmer’s Mutual Telephone of Jesup (FMT) and Independence Light and Power Telecommunications (Indytel), for investing in their communities by establishing the state-of-the- art internet backbones needed to provide this service. With a 60-day notice, 1-gig service can be established to clients in the FMT & Indytel service areas. In addition to broadband, both communication utilities provide television, and telephone services.
FMT Manager, Tony Lange, explained that all clients have a dedicated fiber connection to their home or business. FMT is a member owned Cooperative that was formed in 1902 and serves both rural and city customers. 
Indytel’s service area also extends beyond city limits.  Telecommunication’s Manage Marty Diesburg said that Indytel has established “to the curb” fiber network throughout Independence and to much of the rural area surrounding Independence. Those not connected to Indytel’s broadband can be connected within hours.  Indytel is a division of Independence Light and Power, a municipal owned utility that was formed in 1893.
Redundancy of service is strikingly important to maintaining top-tiered broadband service. Farmer’s Mutual and Indytel are working to jointly develop duel broadband rings between their communities, their customers and to the world at large. Shared costs and services means that cost effective redundant broadband service is available to serve existing customers and will serve to attract new growth to Buchanan County.
Indytel’s Marty Diesburg said, “Both entities serve small communities and are overseen by locally appointed Boards. It just makes sense to work together for a common goal.”
“We must work together to survive,” chipped in Tony Lang from FMT. “Our goal is to provide world-class service and technology. This is best accomplished when we work together.
Buchanan County can serve as an example to demonstrate  how the 1-Gigabit challenge can be met in rural communities. “The ability to communicate unlocks the power of knowledge.” We have the power!
Dreaming of Starting Your
Own Business?
Start it in Buchanan County!
If you are you thinking about starting or expanding a business and you’re not sure about how to proceed, the Small Business Development Center (SBDC) can help. The Buchanan County Economic Development Commission (BCEDC) has made arrangements to the UNI SBDC to come to Buchanan County.  The SBDC will be operating out the BCEDC offices on the 3rd Monday of each month.   The next visit is scheduled for Monday, March 16, at 112 1st. St. Independence.
Established in 1981, the Iowa SBDC’s provide free, confidential, customized, professional business advice in all 99 Iowa counties to entrepreneurs and existing businesses with 500 employees or less. The SBDC also presents affordable workshops that teach practical skills and techniques, conduct research, provide comprehensive information services, and offer access to subject matter experts in a variety of fields.
SBDC Monday in Buchanan County: Call BCEDC Director George Lake at 319-334-7497 to set an appointment to meet with the SBDC on Monday, February 16. The Buchanan County Economic Development Commission offices are located at 112 1st. St. Independence.   
You can also set an appointment to meet at the UNI Small Business Development Center in Cedar Falls by calling 319-273-4322.

BCEDC Board Member, Terry Toale is recognized for leadership in the Cedar Valley Business Monthly

Long-time BCEDC Treasurer Terry Toale has been recognized as one of the Cedar Valley Region's financial leaders.   Mr. Toale has served on the BCEDC Board since 1995 when the Buchanan County Economic Development Commission was founded.
"This is a well-deserved honor for Terry," exclaimed BCEDC Director George Lake. "Terry provides strong financial direction to Buchanan County Economic Development. He donates many hours of volunteer service to the BCEDC and to other nonprofit organizations. It is individuals like Terry Toale who improve the quality of life in our communities. I am fortunate, Buchanan County is fortunate, to be able to work with someone of Terry’s caliber." 
Click here to read the full article.

Legislature Approves Increased Funding
for Transportation Infrastructure
After several years of not moving forward, a strongly bi-partisan bill to implement a 10-cent increase in Iowa’s gasoline tax was passed by the legislature and signed into law by Governor Branstad.  Over 50% of Republicans and Democrats voted in favor of the legislation. The Governor signed the bill and the new tax began being collected on March 1st.  One hundred percent of all newly raised funds will go towards maintaining and improving Iowa’s transportation infrastructure
The BCEDC Board of Directors has been a proponent of generating new funds to better maintain and expand Iowa’s transportation infrastructure.  The Board recognizes that Iowa’s roads and bridges are in dire need of repair and that there is a strong correlation between expanding economic growth and an efficient, safe system of roads and bridges. Supporters of increasing the gas tax include the Iowa Farm Bureau, the Iowa League of Cities, the Iowa Trucking Association and the Iowa Association of Counties.
What is the status of Iowa’s transportation infrastructure?  According to research conducted by the nonpartisan organization, Smart Growth America, 53% of Iowa’s state-owned major roads had fallen out of good condition, meaning they will now be increasingly expensive to repair and maintain.  Iowa’s bridges are ranked third-worst in the nation with about one in five rated as structurally deficient, according to a recent study issued by Transportation for America, a Washington, D.C.-based coalition of public officials and organizations.  Nearly 5,200 of the state’s 24,465 bridges are rated as deficient with the vast majority of the deficient bridges on county roads in rural Iowa.  In Buchanan County alone, five bridges have been closed this fall due to not having the resources to repair the bridges.

 It is anticipated that the new tax will raise an additional $215 million annually, with 20% of the tax paid for by out-of-state drivers.  The chart above explains the amount of new road repair funds coming to Buchanan County communities.
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The Buchanan County Economic Development Commission (BCEDC)
P.O. Box 109
Independence, IA  50644

Street address: 112 1st St. East, Independence,  IA  50644

Contact: George Lake, Executive Director

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