The Suffield Board of Selectmen discussed the interim fire chief position and how to set terms for a town revenue stream .
Mike Thibedeau, Suffield’s fire marshal, was offered the interim chief position in early January. Thibedeau, the town and Suffield’s firefighter’s association have negotiated in the weeks since and are very close to a conclusion.
“We’re on the cusp of having the [position of] interim chief set,” said First Selectman Ed McAnaney. “I believe we, the union and Mike Thibedeau are in agreement.”
Thibedeau, who was in attendance at the meeting, will likely take the position by Friday.
McAnaney said the town’s Fire Commission is close to distributing a finalized job description for the permanent fire chief position as well.
The board and Patrick McMahon, Suffield’s director of development, discussed the three mobile phone communication towers leased by the town to Crown Castle International.
McMahon described the current lease as “a pretty good deal” for the town, especially at its start. The 20-year lease agreement paid the town slightly more than $600,000 up front for use of the three towers and provides the town with 25 percent of the annual revenue generated from the towers’ use by mobile phone companies.
Crown Castle recently notified McMahon that the company wants to extend the lease agreement with the town. He appeared at the meeting to request that the first selectman write a letter to the company outlining the town’s terms for the new lease. McMahon and other town officials decided upon the terms following discussion with Florida-based consulting group Steel in the Air.
The town is seeking a per-tower payment of approximately $33,000, close to $100,000 in all, an increase in shared revenue from 25 percent to 35 percent and five four-year lease terms, with the options on the lease resting with Crown Castle.