By Michael DePietro
Interim Tribune Editor
A new lease agreement in the Town of Niagara for the telecommunication easement on the municipality’s water tower will pay for a much-needed paint job.
On Tuesday, the Town of Niagara Board voted to approve a resolution to enter into a contract with Crescendo Capital Partners for the Verizon and T-Mobile services. Payments are to be made in installments of $160,000 per year for a period of 10 years.
“The tower ... needs to be repainted and this will help us cover some of the costs,” Supervisor Lee Wallace said. “This significantly increases (the revenue) we would gain off the top of the tower, over a 10-year period. A as you can see, it would be $1.6 million. We’re not even close to that right now. So this is a nice project for us and a nice little windfall for the town.”
Wallace said extra money is particularly helpful now as the town, like many in the nation, has taken a significant financial hit since the pandemic began.
“In times when it’s difficult for (the town) to make ends meet, every time you can gain some income it really helps,” Wallace said.
While a paint job for the tower has been discussed for a number of years, the issue came to a head in June. Robert Lannon of GHD Engineering reported to the board that the water tower’s exterior was severely weathered, having last been painted in 2001.
There, Lannon said some exposed areas showed the tower’s original coat. He also added that areas of the legs have what appear to be green paint exposed. He explained that it was actually the primer coat showing where the top coat has peeled off.
The board went on to award the “water tank exterior painting project” to Utility Service Co. Inc. for $1,581,600.
Lannon expounded on the paint job’s high price point. He said an adhesion test found the new paint job would not simply adhere to the old, peeling paint, and so a simple top coat was not an option. Furthermore, he explained tests indicating lead paint meant the entire existing paint would have to be sandblasted off before a primer can be applied.
Lannon said the new paint job should last a minimum of 20 years.
At Tuesday’s meeting, Councilman Richard Sirianni asked how the offer from Crescendo compared to a previous offer. During the Town Board’s Aug. 5 work session, Wallace mentioned a previous offer from Blackdot Capital and Real Estate, which would have paid the town $450,000 over 13 years.
“Well, that one was the same thing except the difference was their company’s offer was a lot lower and we were actually going to give them rights to it forever. This isn’t forever,” Wallace said. “And then the other thing with this company, if they find (another cellular service) to go on top of that tower in the future, we get 50% of that, too. So, it’s a really good deal for us.
Councilman Marc Carpenter said, “So, in essence, if you look at the long term and the cost of repainting and refurbishing the water tower, this pretty much washes that.”
“Pretty much,” Wallace replied.
Per the agenda, the starting date for payments will be negotiated and determined by contract.