Monticello council OKs $16,500 for communications tower advance work

Monticello city leaders unanimously agreed earlier this week to spend $16,500 to support site planning and design of a city-owned communications tower.
City Administrator Jeff O’Neill handed out a site plan and financial projections for Verizon as a single tower tenant as well as estimated costs and revenue use for two additional tower tenants at the start of a Tuesday morning special meeting. At the council’s previous meeting July 22, O’Neill said council members initially considered spending money to get the telecommunications tower going.
“[We’re] actually looking at preliminary design work to get to the point where we can go to the planning commission and hold a public hearing,” O’Neill said, adding after a public hearing would be conducted, the city council would decide whether or not to move forward with full construction of a tower project.
While the council voted 3-2 against moving ahead during its July 22 meeting, there was an additional motion directing city staff to bring back more information about costs and revenues as well as potential tower locations. “That’s been done,” he said. “We wanted to keep moving on this because winter’s coming.”
O’Neill said Mayor Clint Herbst elected to call a special meeting instead of waiting until late August to readdress the idea of a city-owned telecommunications tower, specifically the city council’s consideration of expenditures related to site planning, design, and regulatory preparation work. O’Neill handed the meeting over to Mark Pultusker, FiberNet Monticello general manager, to address those key issues.
Pultusker said there was a “miscommunication” with what the city council was trying to accomplish.
He told the council that spending $20,000 for an outside consultant to do a tower feasibility study would not be the best use of city funds. “What I stated in emails to you is that I would not have brought this to city council if I didn’t think it was an ideal opportunity for the city to derive revenue from an alternative source,” he said.

See the print edition of this week’s Monticello Times for the complete story.