First Selectwoman Lynne Vanderslice’s office reports that, on behalf of the town, she recently signed a lease extension with Crown Castle for the cell tower at the transfer station on Mather Street. The 10-year lease extension is effective June 15, 2018. The Board of Selectmen had voted unanimously to approve the lease extension at its meeting on Nov. 20.  

The lease extension provides a first-year lease payment of $180,000, which is an $80,000 increase over the current annual payment, and a 3% annual escalation in the lease payment. The current lease provides for no escalation in payments.

Payments will be pre-paid annually instead of the monthly payment structure now in place. The town will also receive a $125,000 signing bonus, which is an increase of $115,000 over the prior lease extension’s signing bonus. A mandatory annual inspection by a state-licensed engineer, paid for by Crown Castle, was also added to the terms of the lease extension.

The original lease provided the town with the option to assume ownership of the tower at the end of lease term. The town retained this option with the extension. The Board of Selectmen reviewed the pros and cons of assuming ownership.

“One of the major concerns was the tower’s age,” Vanderslice said in a press release. “The tower is 30 years old and it could be costly to replace.

“We are very pleased with the outcome of the cell tower lease extension review,” she said. “The participation in the negotiations of Berchem Moses attorney Doug LoMonte resulted in a positive financial outcome for the town. The $125,000 signing bonus and the additional rental income were not budgeted for the current year, thus creating a surplus that can be used to offset expenses when developing the FY 2019 mill rate.”

Crown Castle is the nation’s largest provider of wireless infrastructure. Information on the company may be found at crowncastle.com.

The local police, fire department and emergency medical services also have equipment on the tower.