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Landis ‘reluctantly’ approves agreement with Time Warner

Landis’ Board of Alderman “reluctantly” approved a pole attachment agreement with Time Warner at its meeting Tuesday evening.

The agreement, in which Time Warner promises to pay $5.92 each to attach cables to Landis’ 1,600 poles each year, brings the first rate increase since the company first brought cable to Landis years ago.

The rate increase isn’t nearly what the board hoped to receive, and it didn’t come without a fight.

Since the town owns its own power company, and thus its own utility poles, Time Warner pays Landis to attach its cables to the town’s preexisting utility poles.

When Landis asked for a rate increase, Time Warner sued the town, said Mayor James Furr. “It was truly a David and Goliath fight.”

“They sued us because we were little and they figured they would run over us,” said Tony Hilton. “They have as many lawyers as we have people in the town of Landis.”

ElectriCities, the company that helps the town facilitate its power company, used its own lawyers to fight on the town’s behalf.

“Electricities saw this for what it was,” Furr said.

This matter has been the “primary issue” behind the town’s closed sessions over the past few years, he said. Although the town is now receiving more money that it previously was, they didn’t meet the “level of success” they would have liked.

Rejecting the agreement, board members said, would likely mean the town wouldn’t get any money at all from Time Warner.

Hilton made the motion that the town “reluctantly approve” the agreement.

“Reluctantly, I second,” Alderman Dennis Brown.

Furr acknowledged the “great reluctance heard from both parties” before calling the vote, which unanimously approved the agreement.

“The ayes have reluctantly agreed,” Furr said at the conclusion of the vote.

The board also reviewed a new public nuisances ordinance and called a public hearing for its April business meeting.

The policy deals with junk, broken fences, unkempt yards and trash.

“I’ve had numerous complaints from citizens about houses with junk on their porches or in yards,” Brown said, adding that citizens were concerned that Landis wasn’t “pretty anymore.”

“We didn’t have anything in place where we could legally do anything there,” he added.

“The ordinance just wasn’t there to make anything happen,” Furr said.

Hilton asked that the language allowing Landis police to enforce the ordinance one mile outside city limits be removed from the document, citing the fact that the town doesn’t have authority outside its corporate limits for other issues.

“I see valid points to both sides,” Furr said.

Although he feels it’s unfair for the board to make decisions for people who couldn’t vote for members of the board and that don’t pay taxes to the town, Landis still has a duty to protect its citizens.

“The county has noise and nuisance ordinances,” Hilton pointed out.

A print copy of the ordinance will be available at Landis’ town hall, or on the town’s website for residents to review before the board’s next meeting.

The board learned that the town’s automatically read water and electric meters should be fully installed and operational by the end of the calendar year.

The town received a grant worth nearly $1 million from the federal government to install the meters.

It should take three months to get the equipment ordered and software configured, as well as an additional two to three months to install the meters. The final phase, which takes about a month, includes training and working through any problems that arise.

 In other news, the Landis Board of Aldermen:

  • Unanimously approved rezoning property in the 700 block of South Highland Avenue so Merrel Family Dentistry could expand by adding additional office space and a parking lot on the property. The property was initially zoned as single family residential, but was changed to office and institutional.

The planning board gave a positive recommendation for the rezoning, and no one spoke during the public hearing.

The structure currently on that property will be burned as a training exercise for Landis Fire Department Saturday at 8 a.m.

  • Unanimously appointed Furr and Town Manager Reed Linn to the RowanWORKS Funding Partners Advisory Council.
  • Set a budget workshop for April 21 at 5:30 p.m.
  • Received a gift of property from the D.C. Linn property at the intersection of Old Beatty Ford Road and Dial Street. The only condition with the gift is that if the town chooses to sell the property, that the proceeds go toward Passive Park in downtown Landis.

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