A unanimous closed session decision to decline a proposal by Unisom was rendered Monday night following the Dearborn Board of Aldermen meeting. Last month, a Unisom representative presented a proposal to the Board which would give the City a lump sum of $250,000 to assume its lease with Verizon Wireless.
The City leases out space for a wireless antennae on its water tower at Hackett Road and Interstate 29 to the wireless company in order to expand Verizon’s coverage area. Verizon currently pays the City $2,061.37 annually to utilize the facility with a three-percent annual escalator.
What Unisom planned to do was buy out the lease for its contract in a lump sum and then buy perpetual easements to place additional antennas on the surface of the water tower. Then, it would try to market the location and gain additional providers. When an additional provider was obtained, it would split profits with the City 50-50. If they could not market the property to potential providers within three years, the site would be abandoned.
This also means there was potential for the City to lose Verizon Wireless if Unisom could not market the area and Verizon decided to take its antennae elsewhere. One of Unisom’s incentives was that with the wording in the contract between the City and Verizon, the wireless provider could leave the space at any time without prior notice. Unisom would therefore be assuming the risk and could potentially negotiate a higher rent payment when the contract expired. However, as Unisom’s representative pointed out, most wireless providers can simply jump ship to another tower and a better deal if it did not like the terms of its renewed contract. If Unisom failed to market the location and abandoned it, the City could be out more money in the long run than it would receive in the lump sum.