U.S. Cellular will be moving equipment off a tower in Washington, but will still pay rent until the lease expires.
Once U.S. Cellular moves out all of the equipment it wants to keep, the city may move in and use the location.
“We’re are going to keep the items that are there, and they’re going to keep paying rent until May 31, 2016,” said Brian Boehmer, assistant city administrator said.
The city and U.S. Cellular entered into a 10-year lease April 3, 2006, to store equipment on top of the water tower on Crestview Drive. The lease was scheduled to expire May 31, 2016.
U.S. Cellular no longer had a need for the tower and came to the city wanting to end the lease.
“Originally they wanted to terminate the lease and take all the equipment they wanted and we said no,” said Mark Piontek, city attorney. “We said, ‘You’re going to continue to pay rent until the end of the lease term, like you agreed to do.’ ”
Boehmer said there is no timetable for U.S. Cellular to move out. Once they do leave, the city plans to use the space.
“We’re going to leave the items on the water tower for our own antenna,” he said. “We will put our own radio equipment in the little concrete building that once housed the phone stuff.”
Piontek said U.S. Cellular will be removing transmitting equipment, but will be leaving behind some items the city can use. That wasn’t always the plan.
“We went from, they were going to take everything, they were going to take nothing, to now, they’re going to take what they want and they’re going to continue to pay rent,” Piontek said.
If the city doesn’t use the tower, Piontek said the city could also lease it to another cellular company when U.S. Cellular moves out.
The council was asked to vote on a bill of sale — for $1 the city will buy the parts. U.S. Cellular leaves behind. The council unanimously approved the sale.