The Marlborough Town Board held a public hearing on a long-term land lease agreement with Florida-based Tarpon Towers to build a cell tower at 1650 Rte 9W. The site was the former location of Town Hall and is presently used by the Highway and Water Departments.
Supervisor Al Lanzetta said Tarpon Towers will pay the town $1,500 per month with an increase of 2 percent annually. There is also a revenue share of $350 per additional carrier, along with a $10,000 bonus to the town at the beginning of the lease. The lease is for 45 years but will be reviewed for renewal in 5 year increments.
Brett Buggeln, CEO of Tarpon Towers, pointed out that Verizon approached his company concerning a deficiency of coverage and quality in cell phone service in Marlborough. He said that Verizon and others provide the signal to the cell phones but, “I’m the guy that spends the big money to build the sites themselves where they put their antennas and equipment.”
Tarpon Towers is proposing a 150 foot mono-pole plus a 4 ft lightning rod on a 40 ft x 60 ft fenced in compound on the site. Buggeln said the tower would be designed as a multi-user facility and provide economic and coverage benefits to the town. He added that the town’s emergency services will be able to locate on the tower at no charge.
On the economic side, Buggeln said Marlborough would receive money through a long-term market rate lease agreement with his company and share in additional revenues through sub-lease arrangements when additional tenants locate on the tower. He said the tower would fill in significant coverage gaps in town and improve in-building reception and general outdoor quality.
Tarpon has already submitted an application with the town and the State Environmental Quality Review Act document is in the process of being completed. Buggeln said Tarpon Towers and Verizon are hoping to proceed with the project by the end of June.
Buggeln said his company, which owns nearly 200 cell towers with 50 sites in upstate New York, works almost exclusively for Verizon. He said the goal of this project in Marlborough, “is to get other carriers, such as AT&T and Sprint, to come onto this facility to provide better coverage and sales.”
Buggeln said Tarpon Towers has strong financial backing and he and his partners have invested their own money in the company.
“We’re aggressive to be successful because otherwise we don’t put food on our tables at our houses,” he said.
Buggeln said the company has $4 million in equity and an additional $20 million plus $60 million in credit.
“We have significant assets and significant revenues; I just wanted to make sure the town is sure of who we are and our financial backing,” he said.
Tim Lawton lives on Woodcrest Lane, directly across from the proposed cell tower. He asked whether there would be any plantings to mask the fenced in base of the tower, “to beautify it to make it look better than just an industrial installation?” Buggeln said his team “puzzled” over this question, knowing that the area they want to build on is near the Highway Department’s fill area and salt shed. The company has no plans for plantings around the fence.
Supervisor Lanzetta said the Town Board left the Public Hearing open as they are awaiting responses from the Department of Transportation and the Ulster County Planning Board.
Lanzetta said at the next Town Board meeting they will vote on a resolution for him to sign the lease agreement with Tarpon Towers.