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Yuma County responds to State Representatives to investigate broadband project

YUMA, Ariz. (KYMA, KECY) – Yuma County's Broadband Middle Mile project has been under scrutiny lately.

The project was approved in September 2021 with funding from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA), a federal COVID-19 funding.

But some state lawmakers have asked Arizona's attorney general to investigate the project, citing possible violations of state law, favoritism and abuse.

Below is a letter sent to the Attorney General from some state legislators.

The Yuma County Board of Supervisors discussed the appropriate steps to make this broadband project work to provide high-speed internet to rural areas.

In December 2023, with savings from the ARPA fund and remaining funds, they decided to expand the project to part of Dateland.

Yuma County responded to the attorney general's request for an investigation into the project in a letter on Friday, February 23rd.

The letter from the county described the history of the broadband project and the issues raised in the study request.

Yuma County also said the document contains facts and circumstances that are the subject of an ongoing consolidated lawsuit filed in Yuma County Superior Court by Yuma companies Gila Electronics and WAN Rack LLC. Ta.

The county also said the lawsuit and pending jury trial, previously scheduled for Feb. 26, 2024, motivated Yuma company Gila Electronics to retain lobbyist DeMenna Associates in late January 2024. He said he was thinking about it.

According to Yuma County, Gila Electronics lobbied various state legislatures to forward the request without notice.

According to Yuma County, a news release was also issued and attached the WANRack complaint filed in December 2021 and the Gila Electronics complaint filed in 2022.

In a press release, the county said it did not blame the lawmakers, but said it was disappointed that they were inappropriately misled by representatives of Gila Electronics.

Yuma County announced it has asked the attorney general's office to dismiss the investigation.

It includes allowing the county to prove to a jury of Yuma County residents that county officials are acting fairly, appropriately, and in the best interests of Yuma County residents.

Yuma County recently announced that the Yuma County Superior Court has set new dates for jury trials, starting on September 16, 2024 and ending on September 27, 2024.

You can read the county's response and its attachments here.

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