Preston City Council approves AT&T ground lease
Wednesday, November 20, 2013 3:21 AM
The Preston City Council met for its final regular meeting of the month on Monday, Nov. 18, to discuss several matters pertinent to the city.
First on the agenda was the potential AT&T ground lease. Previously, the company had presented the council with a $300 per month lease, which would also give them the right to renew the lease every five years up to a total of 25 years. During the last meeting the council moved to counteroffer with $500 per month.
Matt Kundert, a representative for AT&T told the council this Monday that the company had rejected this counteroffer and once again asked the group to approve a lease agreement for $300 with an increase of 10 percent every five years.
"I know everyone would like to see more money," Kundert said of the counteroffer. He further explained that AT&T is now dealing with three separate leases and numerous easements to put their equipment within Preston's water tower compound, which is why $300 is the most they are willing to pay.
"It's a balancing act, but there is only so much money to spend at a site. So for us to go up there, we have to have that Verizon tower," he said.
The company could have saved money by using the water tower, but it was deemed too low for their needs. So the Verizon tower was the only other choice within the area.
Questions remained about the length of the lease terms, but Mayor Kurt Reicks reminded the council that Verizon and T-Mobile both have the same length or longer for their approved leases.
"It's more of a service for our constituents rather than for the city," Reicks said of the benefit for the community to get more coverage for local AT&T customers.
The council then moved to approve the lease at $300 per month at the terms the company provided.
Mobile home park
The council reviewed the New Horizons Mobile Home Park driveway, located just behind Casey's. Even though the driveway is considered a private drive it does sit on the Farmers Street right-of-way. The owners have had continual issues with the city's storm water washing the gravel out.
When the area receives heavy rain amounts the runoff should be running into the six catch basins in that area but, as ¬¬¬public works director Jim Bakken stated, there is only one pipe for all the water to flow through. So when the city gets heavy rain, it overwhelms the system and the overflow washes the driveway out instead of flowing into the pond.
"Usually, between us and the owners of New Horizons we get it fixed up. We pay for some of the gravel and use our backhoe to try and clean it up, since it is our storm water that we are not controlling," Bakken explained of the situation.
He proposed that the driveway be paved and raised as part of the 2014 street project.
The decision of the council was to table the issue until the city can further look into a 40/60 cost-share option.
The council continued the meeting with discussion regarding the Fillmore Street pedestrian ramp. The brick facing on the structure needs to be replaced.
Two quotes have been received for the work. The first is from VanMinsel Construction of Spring Grove for $7,680 and the second is from Stone Expressions of Rochester for the amount of $10,650.
The council asked city administrator Joe Hoffman to contact Fillmore County to negotiate a 50/50 cost-share for the project, as the county put up the original structure during a highway project.
Another former county project is in need of repair. A retaining wall located in front of 109 St. Anthony Street is in need of complete repair only 17 years after its completion.
The city is still awaiting a quote from Mensink Landscaping, but the council agreed the project should also be a cost-share project with the amount split into thirds between the city, county and the two property owners, who would then split their third.
Finally, Reicks asked the council to consider the need for a community center in Preston. He explained he was approached by the president of the Ag Society to see if the city would be interested in partnering together in a project.
Hoffman told the council there was a committee formed several years ago to work on building a center, but the group eventually disbanded as interest in the project dropped.
"It depends on money, that's our main concern, but it could be a place for meetings or even a place for functions like a wedding dance. I'd like to pursue this somehow if we can come up with a way to pursue it," Reicks conveyed.
Members of the council agreed with the mayor and will focus on putting a committee together to collaborate with the Ag Society on the potential project.
The next council meeting will be held on Tuesday, Dec. 3, at 6 p.m.