The Reporter covers Miller, Morgan and Camden County in Central Missouri's Lake of the Ozarks and is published once per week on Wednesdays.

 

Published November 22, 2017

Alderman questions amended lease for Cingular

OSAGE BEACH – The Board of Aldermen have refused a new contract – for now - with New Cingular Wireless regarding the antennas on the top of a city water tower.

Cingular wanted to amend the current lease agreement to benefit them and would pay the city more money to amend the current lease.

City Administrator Jeana Woods stated that the current lease runs through 2037 and the company simply wants to amend the current one.

Alderman Jeff Bethurem wants even more money from Cingular that can be used for upkeep of the tower.

Under the current terms Cingular pays the city $2,250 per month ($27,000 per year). If the change was approved they would pay the city $2,500 per month with a 10 percent increase every five years.

That would add an extra $3,000 to the city budget and would be a thirty-year contract beginning on January 1, 2018.

But that wasn’t good enough for Bethurem who wanted more details on the financial upkeep of the tower.

Cingular has equipment on top of the tower with conduit running down the side. Bethurem’s proposal would be to take the upkeep expenses of another city tower (that has no equipment or conduit on it) and divide that yearly upkeep by square footage.

Once the cost per square footage is calculated, measure the amount of square footage that is being used by the Cingular equipment and conduit and apply the square footage price.

So if, for example, the Cingular equipment is using 10 percent of the tower then they should pay 10 percent of the maintenance cost (or whatever the percentage is). This was the idea behind Bethurem’s argument.

Alderman Kevin Rucker pointed out that the city is getting over $20,000 per year now from Cingular and it doesn’t cost that much for upkeep on the tower.

Bethurem stated that getting the financial facts that he requested won’t cost the city anything but Rucker disagreed. It can cost the city $3,000 per year.

Cingular has a contract for a period of time and they simply wanted to amend the current one. If the city goes back to them demanding more money then Cingular could just say “Never mind, we’ll stick with our current contract,” and the city would lose the additional revenue.

The city was seeking a first-reading only of the amended contract and after a lengthy discussion a motion to approve the amended contract was greeted by silence and with no second to the motion the proposal died on the floor.

The information requested by Bethurem should be gathered and presented to the board at a future meeting.

In other business at last week’s Board of Aldermen meeting:

• The board had another lengthy discussion on a simple letter of support for a proposed senior housing project to be called Osage Beach Villas.

The project is being proposed by Build for Resilience LLC and would be located on Ozark Care Drive.

The group wants to build affordable rental housing for fixed and low income seniors (age 62 and higher) using state and federal tax credits with the Missouri Housing and Development Council (MHDC).

“As you are aware, these projects are awarded on a case by case basis and the application process can be lengthy and costly for us as a developer,” a spokesman for the Build for Resilience stated in their letter to the city. “Therefore it is helpful for us to some type of overall letter of support from local and state governmental officials when submitting the application.”

The developer already has a letter of support from State representative Rocky Miller.

The property is bordered by other businesses and seven of the 10 that border or are near the vicinity have submitted letters of support for the project.

The property, which is zoned commercial, has no road frontage on Osage Beach Parkway and according to a city spokesman has been for sale for 19 years with no takers due to the location.

According to Miller’s letter, the housing project would contain 38 two-bedroom apartments designed with single story elevations with a certain number of units reserved for veterans.

Questions began to come in, mainly from Bethurem, on the location of the development. He agreed that this type of housing is needed in the city but questioned the use of that piece of property.

Some of the points brought up were:
• Would this project have any negative impact on the local business property values? (No).
• Does this letter of support mean the board is approving the project? (No).

If the funding comes through for the development then the city would have to rezone the property for this type of housing and the developer would have to abide by all city codes in the building of the housing and much of that requires city approval.

This is just a letter supporting the idea so the developer can obtain funding.

Eventually the board agreed to send the letter of support with Bethurem voting no on the idea.

The board also approved:
• The second reading of the first amendment to the Osage Beach Commons Tax Increment Financing plan
• The second reading of the construction contract for the Dude Ranch sidewalk project
• The Second reading of the expenditure of funds for the Missouri Symphony Orchestra “Pops” concert event. The amount requested ($3,000) was reduced to $2,000.
• The first reading of a contract with JCI industries for pump rebuilding services.

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