An arrangement that would earn the city $2,000 a month and expand cellphone coverage is expected to go before the Palm Coast City Council Tuesday night.
If council members give their OK, the city will lease land at 4 Corporate Drive, next to the city's water treatment plant, to American Tower LLC for construction of a unusual cellphone tower.
"Mobile technology is here to stay," City Manager Jim Landon told council members during a workshop last week. "We think we vetted this big time. This is a fish being ready to be reeled in to help the community with telecommunications."
Vice Mayor Heidi Shipley said AT&T had signed on to use the tower, if it's approved, and that three other carriers are expected to sign up but hadn't yet.
Shipley said Sprint, T-Mobile and Verizon would likely sign on but, for now, only AT&T customers in the city's P section would see improvement.
“We have a lot of dead spots for our communications, places like Home Depot," Shipley said. "Our police department has dead spots too."
According to the American Towers homepage, the company's sites "are home to cellular and wireless, radio and television broadcast, microwave and two-way radio communications equipment."
Calls and emails requesting comment from officials at the Woburn, Mass.-based American Towers were not returned Monday.
Shipley said the site would not be needed in plans to upgrade the radio system at the end of the decade or after, when the manufacturer no longer offers support for its hardware.
"I'll have no problem voting on it," she said. "I think it’s a good idea for everyone to sign on to that. It will give us better coverage, in Pine Lakes, over in the P section, where they have some areas that drop."
The contract with American Towers calls for the company to construct a 15-story high monopine tower, which roughly resembles a pine tree.
"If you are driving on the parkway and paying attention to your driving, you won’t even see this,” Mayor Jon Netts said during a workshop last week.
Asked whether he likes the idea, Netts replied: "It's an inevitability. You're going to have to put (towers) somewhere. The trick is to find the least intrusive spots. I think the city is doing the right thing putting this where it is."
The regular council meeting is set to begin at 6:30 p.m.
Source : news-journalonline.com