Rent on Landis utility poles will be going up

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, December 2, 2009

By Shavonne Potts
Salisbury Post
LANDIS ó The Landis Board of Aldermen has made a move to bring in more money by charging higher rental rates for utility pole attachments.
The increased cost would affect Windstream Communications and Time Warner, who rent and attach onto primary and secondary poles throughout the town.
Aldermen approved the new rental rates at their Monday meeting, a move that will increase revenue to the town from $3,150 to $25,200.The town also intends to obtain Global Positioning System (GPS) mapping on each primary and secondary pole during an inventory process.
Ted McGavran, of McGavran Engineering, spoke at this week’s meeting about services his firm could offer the town.
“The town needs to protect itself against violations,” he said.
GPS mapping is designed to reduce the overall liability the town is exposed to as a result of the pole attachments.
McGavran said his firm has been providing this service for other towns throughout North Carolina and South Carolina.
There are 51 miles of primary lines and 1,800 poles and 1,000 secondary poles. Time Warner is attached to 80 percent of all poles and Windstream is attached to 40 percent of the town’s poles. Of the 1,800 poles, 225 are owned by Windstream.
Based on what McGavran called a “worst case scenario,” the projected rate increase for Time Warner is an initial rate of $10 per attachment and a joint-use rate of $20 per pole for Windstream. Current rental rates are $1.50 for Time Warner and $2 for Windstream.During the meeting, Alderman Craig Sloop wanted to know where the money to pay the engineering firm would come from. Town Administrator Reed Linn suggested the board include the cost in their budgeting process.
Alderman James Furr asked if the town could be billed July 1. The town begins its new budget year in July.
McGavran said he would see what could be worked out.
Linn noted that once the poles are mapped, there will not be a need to continue the contract with McGavran as their work will be complete.
Linn later explained the worst case scenario is the least amount the town could collect. The projected revenue could be higher with a larger number of actual attachments, since leasers tend to have multiple attachments on poles.
The town would receive an annual payment from Windstream and a biannual payment from Time Warner.
Contact Shavonne Potts at 704-797-4253 or spotts@salisburypost.com.

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