The message is clear — move the equipment or pay up.
And while CrownCastle, the company which now owns a cell tower where some Maysville communication equipment is located states on its website “Our towers, small cells, and fiber connect people to what’s important — family, friends, work, news, and essential emergency services,” that connection comes at a price, city officials said Friday.
Maysville City Manager Matt Wallingford said the cell tower in question is located in the Shannon area in Mason County and has been the location for some Maysville/Mason County emergency communication equipment since 2006. When the city first signed a lease to place equipment on the tower, the structure was owned by Singular Wireless and the costs was $10 per year, he said.
Since then the cell tower has been purchased by CrownCastle, a Pennsylvania-based communication company which has “… a unique combination of towers, small cells, and fiber, and a team of approximately 5,000 employees across nearly 100 offices nationwide…,” according to its website.
Wallingford said the city was presented with two options by the company after it purchased the tower — enter into a lease agreement for $930 a month to keep the equipment in place or move it.
Wallingford said he appealed to CrownCastle to let the equipment remain on the tower as a matter of public safety.
“It’s used to benefit the citizens of this county,” he said.
The company, Wallingford said, would not budge.
Kevin Borland, a representative for CrownCastle’s Louisville office, said late Friday he would gather information on the issue and contact the newspaper once the information is available.
The city has approached the Buffalo Trails Water Association about placing the equipment on its Sardis water tower, Wallingford said. A lease agreement between the two would not include any monetary consideration, he said. However, moving the equipment would costs about $15,000-$20,000 Wallingford estimated.
In the meantime, Wallingford said he is going to reach out to CrownCastle one last time in an attempt to persuade the company to let the equipment remain at a reasonable price.
Wallingford said the city is going to look into moving some equipment to a water tank in the Wedonia area to cover an signal loss, a move that was planned before the news of the cost increase from CrownCastle.
“It’s all about public safety,” he said.