Owensville aldermen approve wireless tower contract for park site

By: 
Dave Marner
Managing Editor

Inspection fees for Owensville’s occupancy permitting were lowered Monday by aldermen on the recommendation of the Planning and Zoning Commission.

Aldermen voted 3-0 to amend Chapter 400 of the municipal code’s Section 400.670 pertaining to fees for occupancy permitting inspections which were lowered from $50 as originally announced to $25 for the initial inspection. Landlords who need to repair items found deficient on an inspection, and who make the needed corrections within 30 days, will not be charged an additional fee for a follow-up inspection.

Ordinance No. 1299 also lowers to $50, from $100, the fee for a third follow-up inspection if repairs are not made within the 30-day period from the initial inspection.

City staff had previously supplied The Republican with information on the proposed fee structures for a story in advance of the Aug. 5 start date for the occupancy permitting program. That information contained the $50 and $100 fees respectively for the initial inspection and follow-up.

P&Z members had recommended the lower amounts. A committee of elected aldermen had prepared the fee structure which was released by staff in July.

Ward 1 Alderman Kevin McFadden acknowledged the change addressing the board briefly before they voted. 

“I don’t know if the board knows this but we brought that down,” said McFadden of the revised fee structure before approval by ordinance on a roll-call vote. Denise Bohl was absent due to surgical procedure.

Aldermen also approved a contract to lease 4,900-square feet of Memorial Park ground, including airspace, to New Cellular Wireless, PSC, LLC, as a site to construct a “communication facility.”

Aldermen had been scheduled to approve the contract by ordinance. However, two of the elected aldermen — Bohl and Ward 2 Alderman Rob Borgmann — both work for telecommunications firms (both with Fidelity locally and Borgmann with AT&T). Both have previously stated they would need to abstain from voting due to any potential conflict of interest their employment might bring to the discussion.

After conferring with their city attorney, aldermen opted to approve a simply motion authorizing Mayor John Kamler to sign the contract with New Cellular Wireless. That action did not require a majority vote of the four-member elected Board of Aldermen.

Borgmann abstained from voting on the motion which was approved by a 2-0-1 vote.

New Cellular Wireless is scheduled to pay the city $800 monthly ($9,600 annually) for the site near the water tower and the water park by the intersection of Parker Drive and Maple Street. The agreement includes the wireless firm’s pledge to pay $1,000 up front for the city granting them the initial “option” to construct their facility on park grounds. That $1,000 fee may be renewed for a second year if necessary.

The agreement also specifies the initial term of the lease is for five years. And, the agreement is automatically renewable for 17 additional five-year terms — or 85 years — through at least the year 2109.

The 24-page contract with addendums and site maps includes the stipulation that the monthly lease payment will increase by 10 percent each new five-year renewal period.

Kamler signed the contract on Tuesday, according to city staff.

Aldermen met in closed session from 8:36 to 9:35 p.m. and in resumed open session took action on two personnel issues.

The first, involving the police department’s records clerk, including advancing Stephanie Means from Step 7 to Step 9 on the city’s new pay scale due to increase responsibilities serving as the “prosecuting attorney’s assistant” for Owensville’s Municipal Court which is now being adjudicated through the county’s Associate Circuit Court. Means will receive a pay increase from $12.56 an hour to $13.06.

Aldermen also approved Ordinance No. 1299 after resuming open session. The ordinance is a agreement with Robert Mossman to provided up to 20 hours per week handling code enforcement duties for the city. Mossman, who had prior inspection duties in the railroad industry, according to the mayor in a recent meeting, will be paid $15 per hour as a contracted employee.

The initial contract is for a one-year period and is automatically renewable unless either party notifies the other in writing 30 days prior to the expiration date that they no longer wish to renew the contract.

Mossman will make himself available for court appearances and city Planning and Zoning Commission and, or, Board of Aldermen meetings as necessary or requested. He will be provided with a city uniform and identification.

Aldermen also voted 3-0 to provide “in-house financing” for a new class 1 pumper truck being planned for by the Owensville Fire Department which will save an estimated $45,000 in interest fees. There is $219,000 in an equipment reserve fund. Plans call for $100,000 of that to be used on the new pumper with $15,000, up to possibly $25,000, in annual payments from the OFD budget to reimburse the city.

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