A bid to add around $125,000 to Caldwell’s coffers each year ended in silence on Tuesday night.
Telecommunication companies have been lobbying Caldwell Borough recently to erect a new cellphone monopole near the sewerage treatment plant on Pine Street. The borough could potentially charge between $20,000 to $25,000 per cellphone carrier that uses the tower, said Borough Administrator Paul Carelli, and as many as five phone carriers are interested.
“It’s a good revenue generator,” said Carelli.
While the proposal for a telecommunication tower was brought up months ago, carriers have been talking to the borough more aggressively lately, said Carelli. No cellphone carriers were identified.
The area is “notorious for dropped calls and signals” and carriers have gotten “many calls” about improving the reception there, said the borough administrator.
However, complicating matters, the proposed location of the tower is in West Caldwell but is owned by Caldwell. Any proposal would consequentially require West Caldwell’s zoning board to sign off on it.
Nonetheless, there would be no cost to the borough at this time to explore the potential of placing a cellular tower, which includes getting the dimensions and specifics about the tower.
“There is really no an expense involved from our standpoint until we get to the zoning board because you would just be soliciting proposals,” said borough attorney Greg Mascera.
“The council could authorize to go out and bid for this,” said Carelli, “and when we receive the bids and see the revenue … you can decide at that point and you can turn it down.”
Council President Richard Hauser called for a vote for the borough to go out to bid for the construction of the cell tower. No council member seconded his proposal.
Council members looked past increased fees and wondered whether residents in the area would want a new tower near them.
It would be “upsetting to residents that live adjacent to the tower,” said Councilman Thomas O’Donnell.
What do you think about the proposal? If the borough could get an additional $125,000 in revenue every year, would you support the construction of a new cellphone tower? Vote in the Patch poll above or leave your comments below!