Cell tower sale subject of town meeting

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The Beacon Falls Board of Selectmen is holding a special town meeting Monday at 7 p.m. at Town Hall on the sale of the cell tower on Lopus Road to Global Tower Partners, of Boca Raton, Fla., for $925,000. –ELIO GUGLIOTTI

BEACON FALLS — A special town meeting will be held Monday night to discuss and vote on the sale of the cell tower off Lopus Road.

The Board of Selectmen will hold the meeting in the Town Hall Assembly Room, 10 Maple Ave., beginning at 7 p.m.

Global Tower Partners, of Boca Raton, Fla., was the higher of two bids to buy the cell tower located at the Public Works Department at 401 Lopus Road. The company’s offer is $925,000, minus a 3-percent real estate commission. The town would net $897,250 from the sale.

The town received two bids, First Selectman Gerard Smith said. The other bid was submitted by Tarpon Towers, of Bradenton, Fla., which submitted a bid of $900,000, he said.

Smith said Global Tower Partners, aside from submitting the higher bid, also offered to pay the town all at once while Tarpon Towers’ bid was a cash offer followed by payments.

Smith said the plan for the money, if the sale is approved, is for $600,000 to go to help paying off a note this year for the $1.1 million loan package approved at referendum in June. The remaining money would be put into the town’s fund balance to boost the account, he said.

Smith added those figures are not set in stone.

If the sale is approved, the town would lose out on monthly rent but gain new taxes.

Currently, the town earns nearly $4,600 a month in rent from three companies on the tower.

If the sale is approved, Smith said the town would collect about $5,500 in taxes a year on the cell tower. Since the town currently owns it, the tower generates no tax revenue.

Smith said the town would also retain access to the tower, if the sale is approved, for emergency communication equipment.

“I think it’s a great deal,” Smith said about Global Tower Partners’ offer.

Smith added he’s looking forward to residents coming to the meeting Monday, hearing the details of the sale, and voting in favor of it.

The town began exploring selling the tower late last summer.

In October, American Tower Corporation offered the town $875,000 to buy the tower and lease the land for 35 years. The offer was the highest of four offers at the time. Before the matter could go to a town meeting last November, American Tower Corporation reduced the offer to $791,000 over 30 years. The issue was then put on hold as a new Board of Selectmen took office.

According to Global Tower Partners’ website, the company is the largest privately owned tower operator in the United States and is the fourth largest independent operator in the country. It owns, manages or master leases more than 15,000 wireless sites including 6,400 towers throughout the United States, Mexico and Costa Rica.