Sunday, July 18, 2010

Why rent when you could buy

County opts to buy, not lease, 911 tower

Luzerne County officials plan to buy land in Fairview Township for a new 911 communications tower, which will end the county’s need to lease a tower on privately owned land nearby...Commissioners are set to vote Thursday to buy about 6 acres on the Penobscot Mountain from James and Amy Schall for $215,000. The purchase price was established as fair market value by a certified appraiser, county officials said.

The land must be subdivided to delineate the portion being purchased by the county.

The county currently pays about $500 per month plus utilities to lease another tower on Penobscot Mountain.

A friend sent along some concerns about the deal:

Today's TL announces the county has decided to purchase property for its 911 tower. It had been leasing the property for $500/month and is now going to buy it for $215000.

The property is part of a 120 acre parcel purchased in 1996 for $10 by Nexstar Broadcasting Group, which at the time declared a tax value of $223,000. It was most recently mortgaged for a little over $250000. So the county is buying 6 of these 120 acres for nearly the 2009 mortgage value.

There is also something shady about the ownership. The TL says that it is owned by James & Amy Schall, but the mortgage was granted by "Mission Broadcasting, Inc."

In 1994, the Schalls (d/b/a Penobscot Antenna Rental) were granted a 45 year antennae easement from Diversified Communications (Bill Christian VP/Gen'l Mgr) at $500 a month after the first 25 years. I couldn't find a deed to the Shcalls online.

So the County decides it makes sense to pay what amounts to 35 years of lease payments (without even considering discounting to present value, which would likely so reduce the value of the future lease payments as to make this purchase equal to 100 years of leasing.

FBI expands probe to Luzerne County 911 center

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

This is slipping past everyone- $215,000 for land, $200,000 for tower, ground improvement and access road $75,000 plus 100% of monthly utilities. There are already about 15 towers there - why do we need a full tower for 911? This $500,000 is to offset a $500/month current fee.