Defiance County commissioners continued working toward better internet connectivity during a video conference Monday with a specialist in the field.

The conference with Roberto Gallardo — assistant director for Purdue University’s Center for Regional Development — was held during commissioners’ regular Monday meeting.

According to Commissioner Ryan Mack, Gallardo will be hired to conduct a connectivity to examine internet connection speeds throughout Defiance County. He will put together a study — costing approximately $20,000-$25,000, Mack indicated — that will include a public meeting, perhaps in the fall, with Gallardo making a presentation.

The study will include a countywide public survey, while the goal of this effort is to make Defiance County part of a “Smart Communities” initiative which promotes improved internet connectivity. This also may help the county in seeking future related grants, Mack indicated.

Within this effort, he explained, a “broadband working group” may be established in Defiance County.

“He (Gallardo) has a checklist of ideas to help guide us in a direction of using the internet and what we should be using it for, and how it can help us economic development-wise,” the commissioner said. “... The hope is to create a strategic plan for Defiance County as far as (internet) expansion and accessibility for the future. It’s something that this group of commissioners has been talking about and working on for over a year.”

In another matter Monday, commissioners met with Treasurer Vickie Myers for a monthly update.

She reported that $45,860,430 has been collected this year in real estate taxes while $1,229,000 is unpaid. With this year’s collections completed last month, payments received henceforth will be treated as late.

In other business, commissioners:

• met with Engineer Warren Schlatter for his weekly update on his office and the county landfill which he manages. He informed commissioners that July landfill sales totaled $560,047.99 from 65,059 cubic yards of waste, figures that set a monthly record for the facility.

• received an update on legal matters from Russ Herman, assistant county prosecutor.

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