Hemet Council sets utility pole wireless equipment fees

The Hemet City Council recognizes the local beauty queens during its Jan. 23 meeting. The queens include, left, Miss Hemet Angel Augustine, Mrs. Hemet Michelle Kerlin, Miss Teen Hemet Chyleah Thompson, Miss Junior Teen Hemet Faith Juarez, Miss San Jacinto Brianna Acevedo and Miss Teen San Jacinto Emily Kotyuk. Tony Ault photo

The Hemet City Council, with the purchase of 1,700 light poles from Southern California Edison and approximately 5,000 they currently own, have established a fee for wireless services seeking to put transmission equipment on the poles to bring the city additional revenue.

The city’s own water and power department has recently received calls from local wireless services who are considering placing their transmission equipment on city poles to improve local phone and wireless systems, according to Kristen Jensen, city public works director.

The city had no established fees set for the devices, until Tuesday, Jan. 23, at the Hemet City Council meeting; some are as large as a refrigerator and will be hung on the utility poles.

Jensen said other cities nationally are charging an average of $150 per month to hang their equipment on utility poles. In response to the state’s plan, other cities are establishing license fees for the equipment installation on their poles.

She said in September 2017 the city entered into a Wireless Marketing Agreement with a third party contractor, 5Bars, to administer the site selection, location reservation and general coordination of wireless provider requests with the city. 5Bars would receive fees for their services from the city for those devices installed on the poles by wireless providers.

Jensen said the department is recommending the city set the installation fee for the wireless providers to be $160 per month per pole, slightly above the national average per month and that beginning Jan. 1, 2021, the city should increase license fee 2 percent annually. 5Bars would review the license applications and approve the designs with their revenue sharing fee set at $56 per pole, per month. The city would receive 65 percent of the fee or $104.

Following a short discussion, the city council voted 5-0 to create the fee structure as recommended. There was no comment from the residents attending the meeting.

In other action, the council granted a waiver to drop the in-lieu fees for undergrounding utility lines at a planned construction site at 3880 Wentworth Drive near the airport. Edison already has overhead utilities next to the site and adjacent planned construction sites that would be costly and difficult to place underground for the developers.

The council also recognized the city of Hemet and the city of San Jacinto queens. Receiving the council’s attention were the 2018 reigning Mrs. Hemet Michelle Kerlin, Miss Hemet Angel Augustine, Miss Teen Hemet Chyleah Thompson, Miss Junior Teen Hemet Faith Juarez, Miss San Jacinto Brianna Acevedo and Miss Teen Emily Kotyuk.

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