ELIZABETHTOWN — Essex County officials want to make sure everyone with an antenna on the county’s Terry Mountain tower is paying for the electricity they use.
The county recently took over ownership of the radio tower, located in Clinton County near the Essex County line, from WPTZ TV of Plattsburgh.
The Terry Mountain electric bill is $43,000 a year, and it was supposed to be divided among the tenants with transmitters at the tower.
Essex County Emergency Services Deputy Director Michael Blaise said County Attorney Daniel Manning III is working on getting everyone to pay their share.
“There was some confusion about who was supposed to be paying the electric,“ he said. “Some of the lessees are supposed to pay their electric bill. We’re working with them.”
There’s only one meter for the tower, and Supervisor Roby Politi (R-North Elba) said it should be individually metered.
“The issue is it’s $43,000, and there’s only one meter up there,” he said. “That made me nervous. The tenants should be responsible for all charges.”
County Manager Daniel Palmer said the electric charges are prorated in the leases.
Supervisor Thomas Scozzafava (R-Moriah) said the county should install its own meters.
“I don’t know how you’d prorate who’s using what,” he said. “How do we make that determination?”
Scozzafava suggested turning off the power, but Palmer said some of the users are public safety agencies.
“We can’t shut down Terry Mountain,” he said.
Supervisor Randy Preston (I-Wilmington), who chairs the County Board of Supervisors Public Safety Committee, said Manning will have to work it out.
“Ultimately, we have to pay this bill,” Preston said.
The Terry Mountain tower will be used to reach the northern end of Essex County for the new public-safety radio system the county is installing.
Email Lohr McKinstry: