Thursday, June 4, 2020

Romulus adds revenue to city budget

Members of the Romulus City Council accepted two additions to the city budget last week.
The first was a $50,000 one-time lease payment from American Towers, LLC as an incentive to extend the current lease of a cell tower at 6900 Wayne Road through 2054. The tower, originally leased by the company from the city in 2011, has a current lease which will expire in 2034, according to city officials. The company wanted to extend the lease to ensure access to the cell tower. American Towers, LLC rents service on the tower to various other cell phone service providers.

Councilwoman Virginia Williams noted that in 2019, the company paid $2,454 to the city in summer taxes, in addition to the monthly $1,998 lease fee and another $471 in winter taxes on the tower. The new lease agreement includes a 4-percent increase for each year of the contract.
Mayor LeRoy Burcroff explained that the renewal was at the recommendation of Finance Director Stacy Paige and the city attorney who had reviewed the lease provisions.
Williams said she was concerned after doing “research” about safeguards to ensure that the type of service on the tower could not be changed to a 5-G type of service, which she said, she understood emits an unacceptable level of radiation. She said she was concerned about any possible health threat from the tower to local residents.
Burcroff said that the current tower is not 5-G and that any modification to that service would have to be negotiated with the city. He said that from various reports he had heard, the cell companies would be installing repeaters at lower levels which would not necessitate any change to the tower.
“They want to lock in that they have the tower lease,” Burcroff said. “Other communities have opted to sell towers. This is not for 5-G and nothing like that has been proposed,” he said.
In addition, a grant of $47,550 from the federal bureau of justice was accepted unanimously by the council members.
 The grant, designated to help support city emergency costs during the coronavirus pandemic will be used for public safety funding, Burcroff told the council members.