The tower in Whitingham would be used for Route 100. SBA would want a long-term land lease agreement, with a right of way and utilities to the site, for which they would pay a monthly fee. La Montagne said that once a lease agreement was obtained, SBA would negotiate with carriers, get necessary permits, and build and maintain the tower. The tower would require a single phase power line as well as a telephone line. La Montagne stated that there would be quarterly visits to inspect the facility. The pole would be 140 to 150 feet, and would handle up to five carriers. LaMontagne said that the carriers seek to maintain continuous coverage. LaMontagne said that he had already reviewed the zoning requirements, which were set by the Public Service Board of Vermont. The town would have 45 days to review the application for a tower if the process goes forward. The tower could be camouflaged if the town wanted but it adds to the expense. An unadorned tower would cost $70,000 but a camouflaged pole could cost up to $300,000.
LaMontagne said that SBA would take pictures from various points in town to show how visible the tower would be from different locations. Once the tower is up it becomes vertical real estate, with SBA trying to get as much revenue from the tower as possible.
Town administrator Bonnie Jo Radasch asked if the lease could be transferred and LaMontagne said it could. In response to a question about insurance LaMontagne said the town would have to maintain insurance. La Montagne said that there would be backup generators at the site but that would be the only possible source of hazardous waste.
Board member Alan Twitchell asked if there would be any interference with other telecommunication facilities in the area. La Montagne said that it would be up to the carriers to settle any interference problems that the tower might cause. La Montagne said that SBA would like to have an agreement in 30 to 60 days if the town wanted to move forward with the lease. Raddasch asked if they were looking at any other sites in the area. LaMontagne said that SBA was moving on many sites in Vermont. The company’s website, www.SBAsite.com, shows every site that SBA has built to date.
Radasch asked what happens to the tower at the end of the lease. LaMontagne said that removal would be part of the negotiated agreement.
The board instructed LaMontagne to forward the proposed lease agreement. The next step would be to have the town attorney review the lease agreement.
After the call, board member Greg Brown wondered who SBA is competing with to construct towers.
The board heard from Whitingham Cemetery Commission and American Legion member Dana Dix. He questioned the board’s move to transfer $1,455 from the general fund to the cemetery commission. Dix explained that the monies were used for flowers, flags, and wreaths.
Radasch explained that the move had been advocated by the town auditors. Dix said that the flowers were not in the cemetery commission budget for the past 40 years. Dix said the Legion bought the flowers and then the commission passed the bill over to the general fund. Dix said the flowers had always come out of the general fund. Dix said that the cemetery commission budget had always been for other items needed by the cemetery. Dix felt that the board should have consulted with the commission before setting a budget figure.
Brown said that the flowers were now part of the cemetery commission budget, which could be amended at Town Meeting if necessary. Dix had been under the impression that the selectboard wanted to be responsible for the purchase of the flowers and the board stated that Dix could handle the flowers as he had in the past.
In other business, the board approved an access permit to a lot on Shippee Road, based on the recommendation of road commissioner Stanley Janovsky. The board also approved a certificate of no appeal from the Board of Listers for the years 2010 and 2011.
Board member Karl Twitchell reported to the board that he was going to the Windham Solid Waste District meeting to discuss containing costs for the transfer station. Twitchell had a report showing the tonnage of the past year and current year of recyclables picked up by the waste district. There is also a charge for rejected tonnage.
Twitchell said Whitingham is billed $15,508 annually by the waste district. Twitchell said there were many aspects to the situation. Brown said that Twitchell should inform the district that the town of Whitingham wants to make sure that the town is getting maximum value for their money.
Alan Twitchell said a major concern was what to do with the e-waste in town.
The board went into executive session at 9 pm.