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Dassel Chamber works to bring extended area service to Dassel

February 25, 2008

By Kristen Miller
Staff Writer

Petitions have been placed at numerous Dassel businesses asking for resident signatures to put the option of metro calling to a vote.

Nearly 400 signatures are needed in order for a vote to take place on whether or not Dassel should become part of the extended area service. Less than half are still needed.

In 2006, metro calling was brought to a vote in Cokato. It passed by a wide margin (65.4 yes and 34.6 no).

With metro calling, residents will pay an increased rate per month for their basic service, but no long distance charges will be applied if calling another metro number.

Telephone bills for Cokato residents went up $3.69 a month, and business rates increased $7.38 a month after Cokato switched to metro calling.

The Dassel Chamber of Commerce decided to go forth with petitioning and has designated Elisabeth Schmieg to spearhead the efforts.

The first step is getting 15 percent of the customers to sign a petition. This petition is not a vote, rather it signifies the residents want to vote for EAS, Schmieg said.

Although the process is a long one, Schmieg anticipates metro calling will pass in Dassel.

“It’s passed in a lot of other communities,” she said.

Even though customers will pay a higher monthly rate, they won’t pay long distance charges.

“It evens out,” Schmieg said.

Once enough signatures are obtained, the petitions will be sent to the Public Utilities Commission.

There, names will be checked to assure the names are legitimate.

Also, only one signature is allowed per household/phone number.

It’s hard to say how long the process will take. With Cokato, signatures were obtained in February 2006 and metro calling went into effect April 2007.

Petitions are currently available at Gary’s Family Foods, Dassel City Hall, Jimmy’s Pizza, Robert Wilde Studio, Mansion Antiques, Latté Da, Dassel Public Library, Third Street Café, Holjes, and Thirsty’s Tavern.

If any other business is interested in having a petition, contact Schmieg at (320) 275-3403.

Do you know more about this subject, or have a comment? E-mail news@hjpub.com