Local Verizon Wireless users should experience better service when a new tower is built in the City of Saline.
At Monday’s meeting, Saline City Council voted 6-1 to approve a land lease allowing Verizon to rent land at the city’s DPW facility, at 1234 Tefft Court.
The deal will pay the city $24,000 a year with a two percent annual escalator and a one-time signing bonus of $5,000. The contract lasts give years and has four five-year renewal periods for a maximum total of up to 25 years.
The monopole structure is expected to stand 125 feet tall and built in a way so that, should it fall, it collapses on to itself.
According to a Verizon Wireless official, the carrier has one other location in the Saline area.
“It’s getting hammered by users,” he said, adding that a second tower should improve service for customers.
Council, for the most part, was pleased by the deal reached by the city’s attorneys.
“It’s significantly better than we got in the past,” Councillor Dean Girbach said.
Councillor Jack Ceo agreed.
“These are very favorable terms,” Ceo said.
Councillor Janet Dillon, who voted against the lease, wasn’t so sure. Questioning a Verizon official, she gleaned that the company would likely have the ability to lease space to two other carriers on their tower.
“It seems like the city’s getting the short end of the stick,” Dillon said.
City Manager Todd Campbell said that during negotiations, he was led to believe Verizon would be the sole user on the tower. The Verizon official said that was the case now, but that it could change in the future.
City Attorney Roger Swets said that if the city were to prevent Verizon from adding other services on the tower, Verizon would probably want to renegotiate the lease for a lower price.
Girbach said he would like Sprint to co-locate on the tower, noting he's had issues with service.
The Verizon official said that in comparison to a lease they signed with another Michigan township, Saline was well compensated.
Dillon also questioned if the tower would be an eyesore.
Swets noted the bottom of the tower is usually surrounded by a six-foot chain link fence and barbed wire.