Pickerington officials are considering a lease proposal, which would allow a wireless communications provider to install a communications tower on the city's newest water tower.

Pickerington officials are considering a lease proposal, which would allow a wireless communications provider to install a communications tower on the city’s newest water tower.

Pickerington City Council on Oct. 18 unanimously approved the first reading of legislation to allow Verizon Wireless to maintain a wireless communications tower on the city’s 750,000-gallon water tower located just west of Windmiller Drive near Refugee Road.

The measure still needs two additional council approvals, but if those are granted, Verizon would secure the right to maintain wireless communications equipment on the water tank — including antennas, global-positioning system receivers, radios, signal amplifiers, heating and cooling equipment and a backup generator — for the next five years. .

“There is a bank of antennas, maybe like 12,” said Greg Bachman, Pickerington city engineer. “It’s very similar to what’s on the (city’s 500,000-gallon) Longview (Street) tank.”

In return, Verizon would pay the city $25,000 in the first year of the lease, and that amount would increase by 3 percent in each subsequent year.

“There are four- to five-year renewal terms possible,” Bachman said. “So, this could very well be a 25-year deal.”

Bachman said various wireless communications providers have maintained three communications towers on the Longview Street tank in recent years. He added the city annually receives $52,000 from those companies.

“The Longview tank, our oldest tank, is full,” he said.

In addition to the financial benefits of leasing water tank space to communications providers, Bachman said, the arrangements improve wireless service to area users and concentrate the equipment in areas that typically don’t clash with residents or the community’s aesthetics.

“It’s a good way to combine so we don’t have cell phone towers all over town,” he said.

Council’s second reading of the legislation is slated for its Nov. 1 meeting.

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