The town of Pahrump just found a new source of revenue.
Wecom Inc. started as a small business in 1958.
The company now touts itself as a full telecommunications company and performs all of the two-way radio service for Mohave County and the City of Kingman, Ariz.
Pahrump Town Manager Susan Holecheck said the company has partnered with Cox Communications and is now interested in leasing the town’s cell tower, which could earn the town more than $1,000 a month.
“Cox Communications hired Wecom to afford the transmission of data from Pahrump back in Las Vegas. Right now it is specific for medical facilities. Wecom has determined that our tower would be the best for transmission of that data,” Holecheck said.
In addition to the local medical industry, the Nye County School District, the State of Nevada Mental Health Clinic and the Veterans Affairs hospital will benefit from the proposal.
Wecom Chief Operating Officer and Vice President Paul Fleming noted that the partnership with the town will allow for “new ultra-reliable” high bandwidth telecommunications that will create better and faster services for the community.
“We specialize in building carrier-grade networks into areas that might not have them or are oversaturated in certain areas. The only things that we specialize in building are items for large hospitals and life-threatening issues as well as large schools and colleges. Cox Communications came to us to build them a network that would be equivalent to or better than if these locations were actually physically in Las Vegas or another major metropolitan area and that is basically what we specialize in,” he said.
According to an example contract, the agreement with the town will run for a period of five years.
Either party reserves the right to terminate the agreement with a 60-day written notice.
The town’s tower is already generating a bit of income.
Holecheck said Pahrump’s Rural Broadband Service Provider also leases tower space from the town.
“We currently have one person on the tower and that would be Wave Direct. We collect about $750 a month from them and there’s no exclusivity for our tower. There is certainly space available not only for Wecom, there is additional space should other people wish to be on our tower, we would entertain that. I think it’s a great revenue stream for the town and a great way to bring additional revenues to the town and it’s also a great way to help our healthcare partners in this community,” she said.
Fleming, meanwhile, said the town could generate more revenue as more medical clinics sign on for service.
“With the engineering that we have done so far, you are looking at $1,100 or $1,200 a month or $12,000 to $15,000 a year. As we add all of the clinics, you would be getting up into the range of closer to about $3,000 or month or $36,000 a year for revenue that would come in,” he said.
Board member Bob Adams questioned Fleming on the possibility of Wecom creating problems with other services provided by the tower.
“In the event of causing disruptions to other service following construction, what will be your response?” he asked.
Fleming told the board that his company is regulated by the Federal Communications Commission and is liable for any problems as a result of the lease.
“If we were disrupting outside of what we worked with the FCC, we would also be penalized by them. The fines from the FCC are anywhere from a couple OF hundred dollars an hour, to up to $50,000 a day in fines. If we were interfering by breaking the law, we would not be in compliance with them and could be fined. According to our agreement, we have a four-hour response time for anything that is critical. That is 24/7 on Christmas or any day,” he said.
Insurance was another issue brought up by the board.
Fleming said that his company provides coverage for any project they are working on.
“We own and manage about 25 towers and you will definitely receive a Certificate of Insurance from us. Our technical umbrella limit is actually $8 million. Industry standards require that we carry a $2 million umbrella to be able to rent space and or access the locations. Everyone who works or touches the tower is 100 percent certified for tower climbing, rescue, CPR and first aid and the list goes on,” he said.
Board Vice Chair Bill Dolan said he would prefer to see the revenues go into a special fund to be used for community projects rather than the town’s general fund.
“We missed this a few years ago when we rented a block of land on Kellogg to a tower because it wasn’t in the motion. The money went to the general fund instead of going into projects to help with community functions that people come asking us for money for,” he said.
Dolan was informed that due to the way the item was stated on the agenda, the additional revenue will go to the general fund unless the board decides go re-agendize the item for a later board meeting.
“Once the revenues start to come in, we can work with Finance Director Michael Sullivan and look at directing it at that time. The main thing right now is to take advantage of a revenue stream offered to you. I think this is a very good company and will provide good service to our medical facilities here in town. It is not outside our realm to look at a later date and direct some of those monies so I don’t disagree with that at all but I just wouldn’t want us to lose the opportunity because we are not thinking in terms of directing it,” Holecheck said.
Board members eventually voted 5-0 to approve the lease agreement.