LOCK HAVEN — Discussions surrounding a communication tower in western Clinton County result in a cut up vote among the many Clinton County Board of Commissioners.

Throughout Thursday’s voting session, the board voted 2-1 in favor of an settlement between the county and three people for the acquisition of a communication tower alongside Summerson Mountain Street close to North Bend for $1,000,000.

The settlement could be between the county and Thomas F. Charles, Dennis L. Charles and Darla Okay. Zimmerman and embrace an easement and rights of entry for upkeep purposed and utilities.

Buying the tower is a part of the county’s ongoing mission to improve its emergency providers communication within the western a part of the county to satisfy federal pointers.

Commissioner Angela Harding, earlier than voting towards the acquisition, provided her reasoning behind her resolution. She prefaced that she was not towards the development of communication gear for the county’s emergency providers.

“I need to be very clear that it’s crucial that Clinton County authorities assist emergency providers, first responders and public security. That is our accountability and it’s one which I take very severely,” she stated.

Nonetheless, Harding stated she felt the acquisition was rushed, with the grant to doubtlessly cowl the associated fee in questions.

“This tower and gear buy is in limbo as we’re not sure whether or not or not we will use a USDA grant for the acquisition,” Harding stated.

Chief Clerk Jann Meyers stated the USDA grant has already been accepted, nonetheless the query is whether or not “buying” the tower will qualify below the grant.

Harding stated, whereas clarification for that grant is within the fingers of the USDA and Senator Bob Casey’s workplace, there’s query on whether or not or not the county may doubtlessly must pay for the $1 million price ticket out of its finances.

Board Chair Miles Kessinger stated there are different grant potentialities to pay for the tower.

“I perceive your issues, I perceive the place you’re coming from. However this can be a piece of significant gear that emergency providers wants for western Clinton County,” Kessinger stated. “I perceive what you say about grant cash. However there are methods round that.”

Kessinger stated the county may use one other grant to buy the tower.

“We’ve received the cash secured via the grant for gear purchases. So by hook or by crook, we will use this cash someplace and offset the price of the tower,” he stated. “At this level, that’s the place I’m and I’m ready to undergo with the acquisition.”

Harding expressed her curiosity in whether or not or not that county would be capable to lease the tower as an alternative of buy it.

“To my information we’ve got not inquired about holding a long-term lease like the 2, presumably three tenants at present on the tower. In actual fact, I’ve not been given or had a possibility to assessment the detailed long-term leases that we’re adopting with the acquisition of the tower. Nor am I 100% certain of the precise quantity of hire being paid on these leases. This implies we have no idea the income that’s at present or that might be indebted to the county long run,” she stated.

“If the county would negotiate a long-term lease on this tower with an entry easement included at $1,000 per thirty days with a 5% enhance annually for ten years, the whole price to the county could be simply over $133,000,” she concluded.

Vice Chair Jeff Snyder, who voted in favor of the acquisition, stated in his discussions with the proprietor a potential lease wasn’t mentioned.

“I don’t know that there was ever a possibility for negotiation on any leasing,” he stated. Snyder famous {that a} letter penned by county emergency providers director, Andrew Kremser, despatched to the board’s workplace, stated there was a chance they might lose the tower.

“In (the) letter written to us … there was a chance that if the county didn’t buy this tower, that we may lose it” which may imply a loss to the county, he stated. “Not solely in {dollars} however lack of the protection in that space.”

Snyder added that the fast course of to achieve this settlement was as a consequence of “the household eager to promote the tower shortly.”

“Sadly, generally issues simply don’t work out within the timeframe… the way in which we wish,” he stated. “Beneath the circumstances, I believe we’re doing what we’ve got to do to guard the most effective pursuits of the protection space.”

One other concern of Hardings was the potential price to repair points with the tower.

“The tower failed a professionally finished structural integrity assessment in 2020. It’s not main, however it is going to price a number of thousand {dollars} to restore it and convey it again to passing situations,” she stated.

In response to Kremser, points that might intrude with the tower’s capacity to satisfy a threshold requirement.

“The structural points are some minor points positioned at two sections of cross braces,” he instructed The Categorical. “When towers are inspected, they have to meet thresholds that surpass effectively past one hundred pc weight capability and stress.”

The tower bought is considered one of eight used for the county’s division of emergency providers. In response to Kremser, seven are scattered all through the county and one is positioned in Centre County.

He famous actual areas can’t be offered as a consequence of questions of safety.

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