Finance committee backs new cell phone tower lease for AT&T
Rent agreement for Associated Bank parking also favored
BY KEVIN BONESKE
The site of an existing cell phone tower that resembles a flag pole along Courtney Street in Rhinelander would continue to be leased for at least the next five years for use by AT&T under a contract amendment backed Tuesday by the city’s Finance, Wage and Salary Committee.
The city first entered into an agreement in November 2010 for AT&T to use the site. The amendment, which is being forwarded for final approval Monday by the full City Council, would take effect Sept. 1 and end Aug. 31, 2021, with the city receiving $1,250 per month in rent in the first year and the rent increasing by 3 percent in each of the following years.
The agreement would automatically renew for up to five additional five-year terms, unless AT&T would notify the city at least 12 months prior to the expiration of the current term.
City attorney Carrie Miljevich said the agreement is the “absolute best” the city could get, given how technology could affect the future demand for cell phone towers.
“There’s an initial period, guaranteed period of five years,” Miljevich said. “They can’t back out in those first five years, or if they do, if they decide to take down the cell phone tower, they have to pay for five years….. The cellular industry, in general, could be obsolete in five years. You know, they could be all satellites. “
Committee members also backed a lease agreement for Associated Bank, which is planning a new facility at 304 Lincoln St., formerly the site of a Pizza Hut, to lease a 23-foot strip of land for parking on the site.
The initial term of 25 years would be for $100 a year and could automatically renew for eight successive five-year terms, unless the bank provides written notice 210 days prior to the expiration of the current lease term.
Committee members decided to remove language out of the proposed agreement that would have provided the bank with an option to purchase that strip of land.