Coucil President Brian Kelly said some suggestions for more elaborate types of cell towers, such as a lighthouse design, would cost between $750,000 and $1 million.
Mayor Dina Long said bidders would not likely be willing to pay that much to construct a cell tower with that cost attached to it and that the tax increase for residents would be substantial.
“A million dollars to do that, we’re looking at the average tax payer getting hit with a $1,000 tax increase,” Long said.
Kelly said the benefit of having the cell tower on municipally-owned property would be that it would create some revenue that could be used to build other projects.
“At this point, we’re trying to get a new police station built, a new firehouse,” Kelly said. “We’re looking at the bigger picture. If we get some revenue from a somewhat aesthetically-pleasing thing versus spending three quarters of a million dollars just on the cell tower it’s going to be a tough pill to swallow because it will raise taxes and prevent us from building other projects.”
He said that depending on the number of carriers that use the cell tower, the estimated yearly revenue could total between $80,000 - $100,000.
Councilman Marc Leckstein said the borough has been trying to hold off on building the tower for a number of years while it searches for the best possible place to put it. He said although no place in the borough is ideal, that the current proposed location behind borough hall would likely be the best option.
“I’ve been the most vocal person against the cell tower,” Marc Leckstein said. “The only reason that we agreed to do this is because it is now the end of the line, because they’ve been talking about doing a cell tower for 8 years. We do have an ordinance and it’s the only thing that’s stopped the cell tower company from going to a private property owner and constructing the cell tower.”
The ordinance states that a phone company has to attempt to build a cell tower on borough-owned property if the space is available.
Kelly said the flagless flag pole is the most feasible design for the borough as it the antennas would be located inside it and that it would be as noticeable as other designs.
“It’s not invisible but it’s not very noticeable,” Council President Brian Kelly said.
He said that because the tower would be elevated, space could be utilized underneath it. He said the borough would try to preserve as much parking as possible as well.
Long said a flag would not be able to be flown from the pole because the flag material could interfere with tower’s mechanisms and would also be knocked down easily during windy months.
Resident Bob Maloney said he hoped the borough would consider other options as well and not settle for the flagless flag pole.
“I’m not asking that this design be dismissed, all I’m asking is that we think as broadly as we can,” Maloney said.
The bid opening for the cell tower design will be held on Sept. 11 at 10 a.m.