Company goes silent before cell tower construction begins

NEWCOMB - Although highly anticipated, Newcomb residents may have to wait for cell-phone service as the engineering company contracted with Verizon Inc. has not returned phone calls or inquires as to the start date for construction of a cell tower atop the town water tower.

"I just don't think we are that high on their totem-pole," Newcomb Supervisor George Canon said May 27. "We have been trying to call them, but I never get a response and no-one answers."

Verizon has contracted Tectonic Inc. to build the tower.

"The board agreed to go forward with the project, but now it seems to be at a stand-still," Canon said.

On Feb. 10 the Newcomb town board passed a resolution, accepting the terms of a lease agreement with Verizon that would bring $900 per month in revenue to the town with a 25-year term.

"The contract put a bit of a hammer to us," Canon said. "But our town attorney said that it was the standard Verizon contract and there is little chance of negotiating a more lucrative deal."

The lease agreement provided Verizon with an initial term of five-years with a series of one-year automatic renewals and only Verizon having the option to terminate during the first 25 years, Canon said.

Canon said since the Feb. 10 meeting he has tried to contact Tectonic on a weekly basis, but the project engineer has never returned his call.

Tectonic officials said that the former project engineer, Steven Milana, is no longer with the company and that the project is apparently on-hold. No other comment was offered from Tectonic on the issue.

Several phone calls to the new project engineer, Steve Rupenthal were not returned as of June 1.

"We are not ready to put the cap on this," Canon said. "We will keep on them."

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