2015-04-22 / Andes

Andes residents call for more cell service

By Cheryl Petersen
Cell phones were on the agenda at last week’s meeting of the Andes Town Board. Privilege of the floor was given to Andes resident Joe Eisele who said, “I became concerned when I heard rumors that the town board is thinking of allowing a cell tower near the town garage. I don’t think cell towers should be built near children or many residences for health reasons because of emissions.”
Supervisor Marty Donnelly explained, “Talk about an actual cell tower being built has been going on for 10 years. The town board considers building a tower for safety reasons because people should be able to get cell phone reception to call for help. The town board will not make any decisions without first coming before the public.”

Met with tower group
On March 31, board members and consultant Marge Merzig met with Andrew Santacroce of the Krydon Group from New Jersey, a group that offers consulting and product solutions in communications.
Given the lay of the land and the fact that Margaretville Telephone Company is willing to provide connectivity, Santa­croce reported later, “Cell towers are expensive to build. Funding may determine how and where a tower is built. The fact that MTC is willing to provide connectivity is a plus, however, it is the carriers who ultimately make the last decision. When it comes to cell service, it is not a truth that if you build they will come.”
The option of using emergency towers, to be built in the near future by the Delaware County Emergency Services, was discussed with Santacroce, however Steve Hood, director of the county Emergency Service said over the phone, “The project of building the emergency towers throughout the county is still in the works, with the goal of completion to be year 2017. The plan does calls for a tower on Mount Pisgah near Andes, but permission to build there hasn’t even been granted yet.”
Hood continued, “A total of 12 towers will be built in the county. They are designed to hold cell phone carriers, but the priority is emergency services, therefore cell phone carriers will be considered last, after emergency communications are up and running.”
“The sites being considered are only tentative. Other sites being considered are Bob Weaver’s place on Palmer Hill, Bobcat, and Dick Liddle’s place,” said Donnelly at the town regular meeting. Minutes on all meetings can be found online at www.townofandes.com.
In other business, the board listened to Alan White, executive director at the Catskill Center in Arkville, and chair of the Catskill Park Coalition. White said, “I’m asking that the Town of Andes Board pass a resolution to request a dedicated budget line at the New York State level in the Environmental Protection Fund of $4 million for the promotion and protection of the Catskill Park.”
White clarified, “The Catskill Park Coalition was formed to lobby in Albany and we are asking for financial backing. With the help of Senator Seward and Senator Bonacic, we’ve already received $500,000 in this year’s state budget. The collation plans to use that money wisely and show progress in order to warrant the $4 million. We’ve identified specific projects such as parking lots and trails on state-owned land. The completed projects will make the park more attractive to tourists.”
The Catskill Park is a destination to 1.7 million visitors per year, spending $46 million. During the regular meeting, the board unanimously voted to support Catskill Park Coalition’s request for state funding.

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