MENOMONEE FALLS -The village board unanimously approved a lease agreement with T-Mobile USA for a cell facilities installation on the Fair Oak Water Tower, its seventh contract with cell companies, which will bring the total revenue to $205,000 annually.

According to Chris Smolik, trustee and chair of the utilities and public works committee, T-Mobile approached the village with the plan for the facilities to be placed on the tower on Fair Oak Parkway. The same tower also contains a cell facility owned by Verizon Wireless, but Smolik said both facilities can be safely located on the tower, according to an evaluation by the village's structural consultant.

This is the third contract with T-Mobile; one cell facility has been on the County Line Road Standpipe since 2007, and the other has been on the Kohler Line Water Tower since 2002. The village also has two contracts each with Verizon Wireless, Sprint and AT&T. The total revenue from the seven lease agreements will change annually based on the increase in lease payments every year when cell companies merge and end leases, said Jeff Nettesheim, director of utilities for the village, who handles most of the cell contracts.

According to the lease contract, the new five-year lease will start at $28,500 annually and will increase 3 percent each year, with the option for up to four more automatic five-year term renewals.

"The village has had water tower cell leases since 1996," Nettesheim said. "Originally, the intent of the village was to keep cellular installations on village-owned water towers as much as possible. This was hoped to reduce the proliferation of private monopoles dotting the landscape. Current laws now allow cell companies to place their cell installations in other locations with significantly less oversight from local municipalities."

All of the revenue generated by the cell contracts is for the water utility and is recognized in the annual water utility budget, according to Village Manager Mark Fitzgerald.

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