By Bill Gantz
Staff Reporter

The abrupt departure of Justice trustee Phil DePaola from the village board left an item of business briefly overlooked. DePaola had been looking into a proposal presented early this year over its cell tower leases. The idea was to sell off future revenue generated by three parcels of land the village owns and rents to three different cell tower owners. A representative from Landmark Dividend had presented an offer to take over all village leases in exchange for one large payout. According to their web site, Landmark is a California based LLC active in cell tower lease buyouts. Coalition trustee Ed Rusch Jr. of the Village Voice Party has now taken up the issue. Rusch volunteered to address the subject during a regularly scheduled meeting and was given approval to do so by the mayor and village board.
In May, Mr. Rusch began by entering into a request for proposal process designed to explore opportunities other buy out firms may provide. On July 6 village clerk Kathy Svoboda publicly unsealed three bids at Rusch’s committee meeting. The offers of cash ranged from $423,000-$500,000 and would be paid out in one lump sum. In exchange for the payment the chosen firm would take over possession of the leases for 30-40 years. The leases will be up for renewal during that time period and sharing rent increases could also be a factor. Details of the bidders plans are available for inspection through the clerk’s office.

Before reaching a decision to accept or reject the idea, the village treasurer/financial consultant will be asked to analyze the economic ramifications involved in selling off the leases. Village attorneys will review the proposals for legal implications as well. What is the best course of action for the village and it’s future needs? To answer that, another committee meeting on the matter will be held on July 20 at 7:00 pm in the Justice village hall. After that a vote is planned, according to Mr. Rusch, and could be considered by the corporate authorities at the July 25 Justice Village Board meeting.

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