Thursday, December 5, 2013
By Gillian Graham email@example.com
BIDDEFORD – A Nextel tower will be removed from the stack of Maine Energy Recovery Co., but city officials say the lost revenue is not likely to impact the city’s purchase of the facility.
The City Council voted last month to buy MERC for $6.65 million over the next 20 years. Revenue from cellphone towers on the MERC stack and a tax-increment financing district at Biddeford Crossing will cover most of the purchase cost. The rest will be paid with small tax increases, beginning with an additional 1.8 cents on the property tax rate in 2012-13.
City Manager John Bubier said the Nextel lease generates about $25,000 annually. Once the MERC sale is closed, the city will be able to look for a different vendor to replace Nextel, he said. He said the tower removal will not affect the purchase of the facility.
Spring, which bought Nextel in 2005, will remove the tower from the MERC stack by the end of September. The company plans to cease service on the iDEN Nextel National Network by June 2013, said Sprint spokesman Randy Spolter.
Sprint has taken 9,600 Nextel sites off air to date.
The MERC incinerator in Biddeford.