DOVER-FOXCROFT, Maine — While some Piscataquis County officials say a private company’s proposal to install a communications tower in the county complex would be beneficial to the county, one commissioner didn’t seem persuaded during Tuesday’s commissioners meeting.
RCC Atlantic Inc, whose parent company is Verizon Wireless, has equipment on the county’s communication tower, but wants to move it to a new tower it would install behind the jail. The county’s tower is at capacity, so adding equipment to improve communications for its Verizon Wireless customers is not possible, Piscataquis County commissioners were told in previous discussions.
The fact the company wants the county to own and maintain the new tower has caused some concern for Commissioner Fred Trask, who suggested Tuesday the matter be tabled until insurance issues have been addressed.
In December 2003, the county entered into an agreement with RCC Atlantic Inc. to add two small antennas to the county’s tower, according to Sgt. David Roberts, communications supervisor for the Piscataquis County Sheriff’s Department. In exchange, the company has paid the county $611.93 a month to help offset the department’s cell telephone costs, he said.
Last summer, the company approached the Sheriff’s Department about upgrading its equipment, according to Roberts. Since the county’s 40-year-old tower is at capacity, the company requested to install a new tower and to use part of the second floor of the county’s garage.
The company filed for and received a permit from the Dover-Foxcroft Planning Board in anticipation of the new tower, a fact that rankled Trask. He said the county should have been involved in that process and should have been advised about the proposal earlier.
An RCC Atlantic Inc. official told the commissioners last month the company would pay the county $11,500 a year for rental on the new tower. The company would pay for and install the tower, but the county would own the tower.
He said the company would install a new 150-kilowatt generator for company use if soil tests, which were conducted earlier this month, show no contamination. The generator would be owned and maintained by the company, but would become county property when and if the company vacated the site, he said.
The new tower, if approved by commissioners at their next meeting, would be the same height as the county’s tower.