Rogers City council against renegotiating on water tower

Rogers City — The City of Rogers City Council decided not to renegotiate terms with AT&T to have equipment on the water tower.

A company that negotiates for AT&T — Md7 — contacted the city with its terms at the regular board meeting Tuesday.

“Organizations have inundated (City Manager Joe Hefele) with requests to water tower lease agreements we have, particularly with AT&T,” Mayor Thomas Sobeck said.

Right now AT&T pays rent of $22,000 to have equipment on the water tower.

“They’re indicating that AT&T is going to have to look for Plan B if we don’t give them better terms. We can’t do that overnight,” Hefele said. “They’ll need three years to find another location cheaper to them. So they need us to make decisions by Jan. 1. What they want is a rent reduction from what they’re paying and pay $16,300, with that increasing every five years. More troubling to me is they want to be able to add things as they choose. The city can’t charge the company more and they can’t tell AT&T ‘no.’ None of that stuff is acceptable to me.”

Hefele said he thinks Md7 is paid by AT&T and if it succeeds in negotiations, it’ll be paid commission on anything it saves the company.

“My recommendation is we decline this offer and tell this company we are not willing to renegotiate the terms at this time,” Hefele said.

He also discussed another offer made by a similar company.

The current lease agreement said the company can opt out in 2020, Hefele said. Another company, Landmark Dividends, wants to lease the tower for equipment.

“So what you have is Landmark Dividends in essence what they’re trying to do is give you a chunk of change ranging from $174,00 to $220,000. Two of them (contracts) are 420 months two of them are forever in essence. Beside that, this isn’t a tower built for telecommunications. It’s a water tower built for drinking water,” Hefele said.

Hefele said he didn’t like the idea of a third party being in the middle of anything.

“The additional revenue is great. But the primary function is that the water tower needs to be safe and needs to last a long time,” Hefele said.

The board voted to decline the offer from Landmark Dividends and to renegotiate with AT&T.

Jordan Spence can be reached via email at jspence@thealpenanews.com or by phone at 358-5687.