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City denies AT&T lease amendment

Posted: Tuesday, Jul 23rd, 2013

The Flandreau City Council met at their chambers for regular session last Monday night to discuss, amongst other things, an amendment that AT&T had offered the City on their wireless coverage.

Currently, AT&T pays the city $690.00 per month to put their equipment throughout town, with a five percent increase in that payment every five years.

The cell phone provider offered a new agreement that would severely decrease the monthly payment, while slightly increasing the interest.

The new payment offered to the City of Flandreau would be for $520.00 a month for the first five years with a 7.5% increase after every five years after that. The catch, AT&T would guarantee rental income of $44,616 over the next 84 months (seven years) with their new lease agreement, where the old agreement could be terminated at anytime with no guaranteed money.

After a careful run through the figures by the Council, they decided that the guaranteed money over the next seven years was not worth the decrease in monthly payments and decided to send a letter back to AT&T to let them know they were sticking with their old agreement.

No one on the council was certain if AT&T would consider taking away the contract all together, it seems unlikely, but if that were to be the case, cell reception for those people that use them as their cell phone provider would be greatly decreased if not completely gone from the Flandreau community.

In other business, the council discussed the possibility of a one-time payout on police officer’s vacation time.

Due to the extreme understaffing that happened during the year, the four officers that have been with the department the longest were unable to use any vacation time during the almost five month period where there was only four and five officers on staff.

Even now, with the hiring of two new officers and a third to be hired in the coming month, each new officer must go through six weeks of training with another officer before he/she can patrol on their own.

Since officers are only allowed to carry over a certain amount of vacation hours to the next year, the City was considering the one time payout of any hours over that set number.

No decisions were made since there are still several months left where the PD will be fully staffed, and officers should have more opportunities to take vacation time, but City Administrator Don Whitman and Police Chief Jim Morey did not want to spring this on them in December, but instead, give them plenty of time to think it through.

The Council will meet again in regular session on August 5th in the City Council Chambers at 6:30 p.m.

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