HIGH SPRINGS – High Springs residents may eventually see a wireless communication tower erected on top of the City water tower near Railroad Avenue in the downtown area. The tower, if erected, is expected to provide increased reception to area residents.

“Right now, we are just trying to determine if there is any interest in representing the City in negotiations with a communication tower company,” explained City Manager Ed Booth. Commenting that the High Springs City Commission had authorized City personnel to advertise for a request for qualifications (RFQ) during a June 2012 commission meeting, “The City received one response at that time,” he said.

Utility Service Communications Co., Inc., Perry, Ga., was the sole responder to the RFQ. An agreement, which was submitted along with their RFQ, listed a 60-day time limit for enactment. Action was never undertaken by the City to proceed; therefore, their submission expired.

During the Thursday, Feb. 14, 2013 commission meeting, Booth explained that he was going to re-advertise the RFQ to see if there was any current interest in representing the City.

Ultimately, qualified responders will need to receive Commission approval to represent the City. Among other actions the firm will undertake will be to locate a company to site the tower, obtain permission from landowners (the City) to lease the property and negotiate on behalf of the City with the communications company to erect the tower.

“The City does not have the expertise to negotiate with these companies and most communication companies will not negotiate directly with the City,” explained Booth. If the commission chooses a company to represent the City, they will be the ones to go out and get a proposal. It would then come back to the City Commission for approval. “There are still a lot of steps to go through before a communication tower is installed,” said Booth. “This is a normal thing for a City to do.”

In response to concerns about dangerous emissions, Booth explained that the City already has a cell tower in town not very far from the water tower. “If there is any kind of radiation emitted, it is close to the antenna itself,” he said. Booth estimated the water tower height, without an antenna, to be 150 ft.

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