The Sherborn Communications Committee reorganized and discussed the RFP for new cell tower in the town at their Thursday night meeting at the Sherborn Police Station.
Officer Ben Stickney was nominated as chair of the committee, “pending approval by your boss [Police Chief Rick Thompson],” said, previous chair Mark Roach, to Stickney. Roach was nominated as vice chair.
Committee member Neil MacPherson said the current cell tower that was built in 2007 brings, he guessed, between, $1,500 to $2,000 per month in revenue for the town.
The tower’s initial leaseholder is Sprint and there is a second provider on the tower, which brings in possibly another $1,000 to $1,500 monthly for the town.
Stickney, who communicates often with the police station’s Sprint representative said that the RFP for a new tower is too extensive in its requests for concealment and aesthetics.
Chris Decker, a pending member of the committee, said, cell service companies have finished their extensive expansion and no longer concede to towns making large demands on concealing the towers. Now, he said they throw down a concrete slab and a pole and walk away.
Stickney noted there was no response when they put out the RFP last year.
Committee member Bill Campbell said they could, “Back off on the structure requirement,” but would like to, “stay with a stealth pine tree.” He added that they would have to stick with the lower height requirement in the town by-laws so they, “don’t have latitude to change.”
Stickney said that in the new RFP they should consider that there is, “a new mandate that we go digital,” by 2014.
Macpherson said, “We need to make sure Brush Hill [cell tower] is digital compatible,” adding that they should look at their contract with Sprint to see if they put digital capabilities on the tower.
Stickney reiterated throughout the meeting that portable radios and cell phones have little to no reception on the south side of town.
One of the town’s most popular gathering places is there. “Farm pond is large attraction,” said Stickney. “We need to be able to communicate,” he added. “There was a near fatal accident near the bridge,” by Farm Pond last year, recalled Stickney. He said that the town and emergency services would benefit from a tower near the Mount Misery area.
The streets with no cell or portable radio service are Lake Street, Farm Road, and Forest Street.
Roach added, if that happened, “It would be win-win for the town.” It would create a safer environment and bring in revenue.”