Public voices frustration with Verizon during Minerva board meeting

Sporty's Iron Duke Saloon, Minerva

Sporty's Iron Duke Saloon, Minerva Photo by Andy Flynn.

— Several community members at the May 17 Minerva Town Board meeting voiced their concerns, questions, and frustrations on the lack of cell phone service in town.

Jack Demers said he had recently been to town with cell service -- Schroon Lake, Pottersville, Wevertown and Chestertown – and asked why he still can’t use a cell phone in the town of Minerva. He noted that after two or more years of planning, there was still no cell tower.

Town Supervisor Sue Montgomery Corey said Verizon has not yet submitted an application or proposal to the Adirondack Park Agency for its Minerva cell tower, proposed for the Sporty’s Iron Duke Saloon property on State Route 28N.

Demers asked if there was anything that could be done to move the process along, and Corey listed the actions taken to date. The town has attempted to contact Verizon on several occasions. The Adirondack Park Agency had written to Verizon, encouraging them to get in touch with both the Agency and the town. And in the wake of Tropical Storm Irene, the town had written to the governor to ask for help in getting cell service. None of these actions were successful in getting a response from Verizon.

David Beale, owner of Sporty’s Iron Duke Saloon, said he’s had no luck with Verizon.

“I have a contract for the cell tower with them and they won’t talk to me either,” Beale said. There isn’t very good communication over there; you can’t get to talk to anybody.”

Ed Healey said that he had tried to address it with Essex County as an emergency service issue but was told that “if no one has died because of a lack of cell service, that it’s hard for them to say it’s an emergency service issue.”

Corey said she’s even had tried to reach out to the Public Service Commission but was told that they had no jurisdiction because cell service is federally regulated. Councilman Eric Klippel asked if it was because the town doesn’t represent a big enough customer base. Corey replied that that was essentially the bottom line, but she promised she would keep working on the issue and that the town would eventually get cell service. She just couldn’t promise when.

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