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An offer of windfall millions for town

AMBROSE CLANCY PHOTO The Town Board at its Tuesday work session. From left, Councilman Paul Shepherd, Supervisor Gary Gerth, Councilman Jim Colligan, Councilwoman Amber Brach-Williams and Town Clerk Dorothy Ogar.

AMBROSE CLANCY PHOTO The Town Board at its Tuesday work session. From left, Councilman Paul Shepherd, Supervisor Gary Gerth, Councilman Jim Colligan, Councilwoman Amber Brach-Williams and Town Clerk Dorothy Ogar.

Shelter Island has an opportunity to become $2.2 million richer.

At Tuesday’s Town Board work session, Supervisor Gary Gerth said he had been approached by a Florida cell tower company offering to buy the town’s tower at the Recycling Center for the multi-million dollar amount.

The board has agreed to listen to their offer, Mr. Gerth said, scheduling a presentation via conference call with SBA Communications for 1 p.m. Tuesday, April 10. The public is invited to Town Hall for the presentation.

Describing the cell tower as having a landlord/tenant relationship with cell phone carriers that also includes revenue sharing, the town currently has a five-year lease arrangement with carriers several carriers — Sprint, Verizon, Team Mobile, MetroPCS and New Cingular — which signed five-year agreements to put equipment on the town’s tower. The contracts are for five-year leases with 10 five-year renewals.

The town received $134,000 in 2017 from its deals, but Sprint, which pays the town $35,000 annually, has made it’s intentions known it’s pulling out, Councilwoman Amber Brach-Williams said

In addition, Ms. Brach-Williams noted that MetroPCS has not paid its bills since November 2015.

Councilman Jim Colligan said that cell phone technology changes rapidly and in the future there might not be a need for towers.

Town Attorney Bob DeStefano Jr. said he had contacted an attorney from The Center for Municipal Solutions, a telecommunications consultancy, to review the proposal.

In other business: The board agreed to make an addition to the town code regulating boats on town-owned property. Each owner will now have to pay $15 for a sticker issued by the Town Clerk to be placed on their boat verifying that the they have permission to store the boat. Any boat left on town property between December 1 and March 31 that doesn’t comply will be removed without prior notice.
Town Engineer John Cronin presented an agreement of shared services with Southold on

MS4 (Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System) requirements. The purpose of the federally mandated MS4 law is to adopt regulations to prohibit storm sewer system runoff and regulations for storm water management in general.

Southold will, among other duties, prepare and file Shelter Island’s annual MS4 report; examine needs relating to Dering Harbor’s compliance; and conduct a critical review of storm sewers.
With the shard services agreement and a New York State Department of Environmental Conservation ruling last October exempting the Island from certain requirements, it might not be necessary for the town to have a MS4 Committee, Mr. Cronin said.

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