New tower eyed for public safety communications project

04aCShiappa BantaTower
The 190-foot monopole on the Banta-Davis Land was erected on April 17.
(Photo by Charles Schiappa)

The Board of Selectmen (BOS) heard about the progress on the public safety communications system project on May 14. Town Meeting in 2017 approved $3 million to update old equipment and improve coverage throughout Carlisle for the town’s public safety departments. David Freedman, a member of an advisory working group overseeing the project, presented the information.

Freedman said that there have been significant changes since the last update. A 190-foot monopole on Banta-Davis land is now up and awaiting the installation of the antenna. A 110-foot monopole at Proctor Road is also up and is waiting for electrical connection. The existing tower at 871 Bedford Road had a new cabinet installed and is awaiting electrical connection.

The new tower located at the Fire Station has encountered issues with the construction of the concrete foundation. There is some question surrounding the compression strength of the concrete. Based on testing done by an independent lab, the concrete has been found to be structurally sound, but might not last the full normal lifespan. The company that poured the concrete will remove the foundation and install another within the next couple of weeks.

The advisory group is recommending the initial ten-foot tower extension planned for an existing tower located at 1022 Westford Street be suspended. Initially, the advisory group assumed the town would pay a lease of $1 a year, the same fee paid for another tower owned by the same tower company. The tower company, however, wants to charge the town $15K per year for the ten-foot extension plus 4% escalation each year. Whereas the $1 per year fee is for a tower that is shared by a multiple users, Carlisle would be the only user of the ten-foot extension, hence, the higher fee.

Town Administrator, Timothy Goodard was able to negotiate the rate down to $13K per year with a 3% escalation, but the advisory group feels it is not in the best interest of the town to make this financial commitment.

The advisory group has located a ½ acre parcel of town-owned land, 500 feet west of Westford Street that would be suitable for a tower. It is estimated a new 150-foot tower could cost in the vicinity of $234K. After factoring in lease payments and escalation rates, the advisory group has calculated that after ten years the town could save $149K by purchasing its own tower.

The Town of Concord has installed a new tower at the Middlesex School and will allow Carlisle the ability to connect to that tower, but has encountered some resistance from the home owners in the area. The town is currently in the appeal process from the abutters and the issue is expected to be resolved sometime this year.

Freedman informed the BOS that all the towers and equipment must be brought up and installed before the public communications system can be started, and could be on line this fall.

Proclamation for Race Amity Day

In other business, Gina Fox approached the BOS regarding a proclamation declaring the second Sunday of June, Race Amity Day. Rather than coming to the BOS each year to ask permission for use of the Town Common, Fox would like the BOS to sign a proclamation in perpetuity. The town and the First Religious Society (the Unitarian Universalist Church) jointly own the Town Common. The Selectmen stated that they can sign a proclamation declaring the second Sunday in June, Race Amity Day, but each year a separate proclamation will be needed for utilization of the Town Common. ∆