published Wednesday, February 8th, 2012

Kimball tables deal on cell tower

By Ryan Lewis/Correspondent

KIMBALL, Tenn. — City administrators have decided to postpone a proposed cell tower lease extension indefinitely.

In October, the Kimball Board of Mayor and Aldermen received a request from SBA Communications in Boca Raton, Fla., to extend the current lease by 55 years.

SBA is an independent wireless communications infrastructure company that leases space on its towers to wireless carriers.

Kimball and Jasper jointly own the land on which the tower is built, but Kimball Attorney Billy Gouger said SBA has "made no effort" to contact Jasper about the proposal.

"I honestly don't think Kimball has the authority to do an extended lease without Jasper because it's a jointly owned piece of property," Gouger said.

The board recently voted unanimously to table the proposed lease agreement.

Gouger said he will contact the company and inform it that "no action will be taken" by Kimball until it has involved Jasper in negotiating a new deal.

Under the proposal, 25 years would be added to the existing lease, which wouldn't expire until April 30, 2049.

Starting in 2024, the city's rent for the site would rise 15 percent every five years, officials said.

"It basically calls for the same overall terms the town has had since 1999," Gouger said.

Kimball receives more than $3,900 per year in rent, he said, but by the end of the proposed agreement the city would get about $10,500 per year.

Alderman Johnny Sisk said the way SBA has handled the extension is suspicious.

"Why they would want to talk to [Kimball] and not [Jasper] seems a little fishy," he said.

Ryan Lewis is based in Marion County. Contact him at ryanlewis34@gmail.com.

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