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Tue, Feb. 18

KYET radio tower still in limbo after council meeting

Just when it appeared KYET’s radio tower was doomed, owner Joe Hart appeared on the scene stating he wants to operate the station in Williams.

At Thursday’s regularly scheduled meeting Williams City Council gave unanimous approval to giving Hart notice to remove the tower because he had failed provide proof of insurance on the structure, failed to negotiate the lease and failed to maintain its perimeter fence.

Dennis Dalbeck, city manager, said attempts to negotiate a lease with Hart had been unsuccessful.

“Last December I attempted to negotiate a contract (with Hart) and sent him a copy of a lease arrangement,” Dalbeck said. “He said he couldn’t afford that amount and would move the station.”

KYET Radio went off the air March 12 after the building housing it at 138 W. Route 66 was sold. The AM station’s radio tower is located on city-owned property at the rodeo grounds.

Dalbeck pointed out a digital communications company is interested in leasing space at $750 a month from the city to install a telecommunications tower in town but must locate it at least three miles from the current tower to avoid interference with the KYET AM signal. He also pointed out the digital tower will take up only a 60-foot by 60-foot plot of land.

In an earlier article on the radio station Dalbeck said Hart has been getting away with free rent since he bought the station from Gyula Szoelloesi according to terms of the original lease agreement. After investigating that lease, Dalbeck also discovered it was non-transferable and Hart has had several years of free rent on the tower. Stating the tower sits on 2.5 acres of prime commercial property at the north side of the rodeo grounds, Dalbeck asked Hart to start paying $800 per month.

Jim Hoffman, mayor, said once the KYET tower is removed, there would probably be enough room to add a ballfield at the rodeo grounds.

Don Dent, city councilmember, pointed out damage to the perimeter fence allows access to high voltage wires, creating liability issues. Dent also said Hart had ignored phone calls when he tried to contact him regarding insurance on the tower.

After the vote, Hoffman told Dalbeck to proceed with proper notice to Hart to remove the tower.

But just prior to adjournment, Hart walked in the door and was given a chance to address the issue.

“I do want to retain KYET in Williams,” Hart said. “I feel (the station) has been good to the community.”

Hart said he wants to move the FM station he currently owns in Seligman to Williams but has been hampered by expense and Federal Communications Commission constraints. He also said he already has liability insurance on the tower.

After hearing Hart plead his case, Hoffman directed Dalbeck to negotiate with Hart regarding rental fees, liability insurance and the condition of the premises.

Dalbeck said Hart agreed to meet with him early this week on the matter. That meeting had not occurred prior to presstime Tuesday.

Water issues

Hoffman said if voters should pass the $3 million bond issue in Tuesday’s general election, geology studies indicate another well should be located in the vicinity of the Dogtown Well currently under development.

“We will be ready to go out to bid (on a new drilling contract) May 17 if the bond passes,” he said. “I ask you to support the bond issue May 16.”

As of 3 p.m. Monday, Hoffman said the Dogtown Well was producing a steady 220 gallons per minute and is supplying 40 percent of the city’s current needs.

Dalbeck pointed out the new pump has 158 stages compared to 129 on the previous pump, measures 92 feet long including its motor and has tungsten bearing which are more resistant to abrasives than the previous pump, which burned up April 9.

Other action

Also at the meeting, city council:

• Passed City Ordinance No. 801 amending its water conservation code to allow restriction of residential and commercial building permits during a declared water emergency, such as the one currently in effect. Prior to this amendment, the city would have to have declared crisis prior — which impose more severe conservation efforts — before prohibiting building permits.

• Heard a presentation by Mark Worden, Williams business owner, regarding a renaissance fair he would like to stage in Buckskinner Park June 16-17 and June 23-24, 2001. He said he chose those dates because no other annual event occurs at that time.

Worden said he hopes the festival will draw 3,000 the first year and plans to shuttle them to the park from the downtown area. Vendors and performers will be juried.

He said he hoped the city would assist his endeavor by providing fire protection, refuse service, parking, advertisement, police patrol, a first-aid station, lake monitors and use of the park’s firing range to stage entertainment.

• Agreed to seek bids from insurance providers to cover medical benefits for city councilmembers.

• Passed a proclamation declaring May Older Americans Month.

• Appointed Reiner Uebel to the Airport Committee to the seat vacated by Buford Belgard.

Chuck Brookbank, vice mayor, was absent from the meeting.

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