On Tuesday night, the Board of Selectmen vetoed a redesign of the Town House flagpole, valued at $36,000 in annual revenue. MySouthborough.com reported that Crown Castle and AT&T, which lease space on the flagpole, made unauthorized changes to the structure, adding enhanced antennas.
Ordered to restore the pole to its original condition, the companies instead proposed adding a “tapper” to the pole’s top. As Town Administrator Mark Purple attempted to describe Crown Castle’s redesign proposal, he was met with emphatic “no’s” by the Selectmen.
Chair Marty Healey said of the unauthorized changes, “It’s hard to have violated a contract more clearly than they have.” Selectman Lisa Braccio noted that choosing the redesigned flagpole would “disrespect our veterans.” VFW Post Commander Steve Whynot said the new flagpole ruined the character of the front of the Town House and thanked the board for not “selling out the town,” reported MySouthborough.com.
The Selectmen agreed to uphold the lease with AT&T contingent upon the pole being returned to its former condition since the flag cannot currently fly. If the carrier is unwilling to abide by those terms, the Selectmen are prepared to let the lease lapse.
Various board members spoke out against Crown Castle during the meeting, accusing the company of “disingenuous” claims around the antennas’ importance for 911 calls, and questioning why it had not “done the work” and presented an alternate location for the antennas.
Although no timeline is in place for how long it will take Crown Castle to restore the pole, Purple noted that the company should be “pretty close to having what they need to put it back.” Purple also commented that he believed both Crown Castle and AT&T, “tried to sneak that one past us” regarding the changes made to the flagpole.