Perryville to consider selling communications tower leases

AP Wireless has proposed to the town of Perryville that it buy its leases with communications companies for cell towers and in return pay the town a lump sum upfront.

Paul Nussbaum, with AP Wireless, explained the unsolicited proposal during Tuesday's work session to the mayor and commissioners, who were open to the idea, but ultimately decided to find out if this would be a viable option for the town.

"AP Wireless partners with municipalities and monetizes existing ground leases in exchange for an upfront payment," Nussbaum said.

Companies such as Verizon or AT&T, that lease property from the town to install a cell phone tower, have the ability to terminate that lease because they are essentially on a month-to-month basis, Nussbaum said, and municipalities can be in trouble if a company decommissions a tower, which means less revenue for the town.

What AP Wireless does is pay the municipality an amount of money based on the length of the lease, the amount of the lease and the company it is with to be on the lease instead of the town so the monthly revenue goes to AP.

"We're aggregating thousands of leases around the country," Nussbaum said. "But if the town loses one [lease], that's a huge hit to revenue."

In turn, if a tower is decommissioned on one of those leases, AP is in the predicament of not receiving that revenue anymore and not the town.

Usually the municipalities that enter into this type of agreement need the money upfront rather than a steady stream of revenue in order to pay for a capital project.

Town Administrator Denise Breder told the mayor and commissioners the town recent received a letter from another company making a similar offer.

What the town needs to consider, however, is if there is a capital project it wants to put money toward or if the stream of income was more beneficial.

Breder commented that the monthly revenue might be better for the town.

Mayor Jim Eberhardt agreed that there needs to be a discussion on what direction to go in and if the town decides to enter into this type of agreement, with AP Wireless or not, it needs to go through a competitive bid process.

Boat tours

The operators of Bay Runner Tours, Fred and Marleena Lied, have asked the town to use Lower Ferry Pier as the home for its business and dock its boat there during business hours.

The company would offer 45-minute scenic tours of the Susquehanna River and, possibly, a "restaurant run," where customers could stop at Perryville, Port Deposit or Havre de Grace for dinner or short visits.

Fred Lied, the boat's captain, said the two love the pier and the Rodgers Tavern area and would be a "beautiful area to operate out of."

Commissioner Barbara Brown, who had previously met with the couple, added that the tours would be scheduled so the town would know when the company is using the pier.

Marleena Lied also asked the town to consider a temporary set-up for ticket sales, basically a place where she could set up a sign and sell tickets for the tours and then take everything with her at the end of the day.

The town will vote on the request at the Dec. 4 town meeting.

Hawkins agreement

The town has an agreement with the owners of the Hawkins Court subdivision that Hawkins would pay for 70 percent of paving costs and repairs to Elm Street because stormwater management work that had to be done affected the street.

Now, town planner Mary Ann Skilling said, Hawkins has completed its stormwater management work and is ready to pay for repairs to the road.

The town wants to hold off on this, however, because there will be "major infrastructure work" on Elm Street, Skilling continued, that would require the town to further damage the road.

The agreement needs to be modified to reflect that 70 percent of repair work is based off a bid that was done previously and will not based off what amount of work is needed after the town is done with its infrastructure work.

The mayor and board of commissioners will vote on the modified agreement at the December meeting.

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