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Rincon approves new cell antennas for AT&T users
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Cell phone reception for Rincon AT&T users should be getting better soon.

Rincon City Council approved the communications giant installing six cell antennas on its Lisa Street water tower.

Council members originally heard the request at their meeting last Monday, but they had some questions about it and got their answers as part of a called meeting Thursday night.

“We still have room for three more antennas,” city planner LaMeisha Hunter said, “which is room for another carrier.”

One of the queries involved how many antennas AT&T wanted to put up, which turned out to be six instead of two as originally thought. There are nine cell antennas on the water tower now, and the city is expected to be paid $15,120 for the antenna rights. The existing nine antennas provide about $11,000 a year in revenue.

Council members also wanted to know how much ground space AT&T would need for its antennas.

“We didn’t want to get so focused on the antennas that we couldn’t operate our water utility,” Council member Lamar Crosby said.

Said Council member Ken Baxley: “It’s never just an antenna. If they don’t get space on the tower, they have to look for land. A water tower is one of the safer places to put these antennas.”

Hunter said city engineer Tim Baumgartner and City Manager Donald Toms were comfortable the city’s trucks could get in and around the tower with the AT&T ground units in place.

She also said cell provider Verizon does need a large building for its ground equipment while Alltel only requires a small cabinet.

City attorney Raymond Dickey told council members that they may need to act quickly, especially with having tabled the matter first.

“There is a time element,” he said. “These construction crews move from state to state, and we might miss the window.”