Bridgewater’s Town Council hit the ground running Tuesday after taking on a variety of action items during its first virtual meeting of the year.
The first item of business was considering approving a lease agreement with U.S. Cellular for the placement of satellite communication equipment on a water tank located off Dry River Road.
Town Manager Jay Litten told council members that two years ago the town entered into a lease agreement with Viasat, a global communications company, for the same space. As part of the lease agreement, the company was allowed one year to study the site.
Viasat renewed its lease for a second year. When the year ended, Litten said the company did not renew, leaving the site available for other interested parties.
A public hearing was held Tuesday to gather comments, but no one spoke.
Assistant Town Manager Alex Wilmer said town staff received one comment by email from a resident voicing concerns over the communications equipment disturbing the view from his residence.
Litten said the equipment will be placed on an existing water tank and would not be further noticeable.
Following the hearing, council unanimously voted to accept the lease agreement with U.S. Cellular. As part of the agreement, the company will pay $1,000 for an initial option term of 18 months with the potential of a six-month renewal period for an additional $1,000, according to Town Planner Gwen Gottfried.
If U.S. Cellular were to move forward, Gottfried said the lease would last for five years at a monthly rate of $1,250.
“It will create revenue for us,” Litten said.
Another item for consideration was transferring the town’s stormwater and erosion regulation and inspection to Rockingham County, which Litten said the county “graciously agreed to accept.”
“This discussion has been ongoing,” said Councilman Steven Schofield. “The county has advantages with a larger staff focused on stormwater and erosion and it makes sense to do it at this time.”
Litten said the transfer was not the result of shortcomings from town staff, adding that the county is simply more equipped due to its large staff.
“The county has people who do this all day long,” he said.
With council’s approval, the agreement will take effect on March 3 after the Rockingham County Board of Supervisors approved the transfer Wednesday.