New internet tower will go to referendumSubmitted: 11/14/2013
Story By Lauren Stephenson

PHELPS - You can expect more debate over a new internet tower in Phelps.

Earlier this month, the Phelps town board proposed to build a new $35,000 internet tower.

The tower would cost taxpayers a one time fee of $8 to $16 depending on property value.

It would give internet access to 200 homes in the area.

But opponents believed money could be better spent in the town.

The people of Phelps voted that proposal down at a special meeting 76 to 71.

But the town board decided Monday night to put the proposal to a referendum this April.

"The town clerk and myself had numerous calls from people that wanted to weigh in on it and wanted to absentee ballot vote but by state statute they couldn't. So because it was so close we felt that we ought to put it before the board and see if we could put it as a referendum item in April," says Phelps Town Chairman Colin Snook.

He says the town board heard the concerns of those opposed to the tower.

One is to have the company, not the town, pay for the tower.

That was something Snook opposed before.

"My big concern was, okay what if SonicNet goes out of business? You know, then what? They own the tower. We own the property. It gets to be complicated. So we broached that with SonicNet and they came back and said that they would be happy to in the contract provide the town with the tower should they go out of business," he explains.

Snook says they're working to alter the plan to accommodate those concerns.

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