FARMINGTON — Franklin County commissioners signed a 99-year lease Tuesday with Tom and Susan Eastler for land off Mosher Hill that has two communications towers.

The lease payment for each of the first two years is $5,224.28. The first payment is due on or before July 15, 2016. The rent will be adjusted every two years to the consumer price index.

The county’s attorney, Frank Underkuffler, reviewed the lease with commissioners on Tuesday before they signed it.

There is an early termination clause for the county in the lease, he said.

The county leases space from the Eastlers for a 100-foot tower and shed to keep communications equipment in. 

Tri-County Emergency Medical Services Inc. also leases space for its 190-foot tower and has a shed for its equipment.

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The new lease will be effective upon the transfer of ownership of the Tri-County tower to Franklin County.

County communications representatives are working to improve emergency radio communications throughout the county in a multiphase plan that is underway this year.

“Last summer, we looked at making some improvements to the county’s 100-foot tower,” Tim Hardy, director of the Franklin County Emergency Management Agency, said after the meeting. During the process, they talked to Joanne LeBrun, executive director of Tri-County EMS, about the EMS tower, he said.

She indicated there could be some type of agreement that Tri-County would transfer ownership of the EMS tower to the county, he said.

The towers are within 500 feet of each other. So rather than putting more money into the county’s tower, they opted to go with the EMS tower.

The shed Tri-County keeps its equipment in is heated while the county’s building is not. The details of the ownership agreement are still being worked out.

The county is keeping both towers because if anything happened to the EMS tower, officials could put the equipment back on the smaller tower and continue operating, Hardy said.

By keeping both towers, he said, they can also regulate what goes on them to eliminate interference with the county’s frequencies.  

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