City Looks To Update CenturyLink Agreement
The Sheridan City Council will discuss a new ordinance outlining a franchise agreement with CenturyLink in coming weeks, updating a relationship that hasn’t been reviewed since 1956.
Dan Roberts, the utilities director for the city of Sheridan, gave a presentation about the agreement at the city council meeting Jan. 7.
Roberts told the council that the current relationship the city has with CenturyLink is based on a standing agreement. Every other utility company to which the city has granted right of way has a full franchise agreement with the city as enforced by an ordinance.
Many of the terms used in the 1956 agreement need updating, Roberts explained.
“This can be looked at as a brand new agreement,” Roberts said.
The new agreement outlines rules and procedures surrounding the relocation of utilities, the production of hazardous substances, insurance requirements, indemnification, and performance bond requirements, among other subjects.
Roberts said that the new agreement is modeled off of the city’s other agreements, like the one the city has with ACT.
The new agreement also increases the franchise fee from 1 percent of gross revenue to 3 percent. This increased percentage will help balance out the decrease in fee revenue the city has received over the past several years.
“The gross revenues are really tailored toward the local telephone exchange, and the desire for that service continues to fall off,” Roberts said.
Roberts said that the revenue for this service is dropping at an average rate of 17 percent a year.
After Roberts delivered his presentation, City Administrator Mark Collins told the council that the 1956 agreement was uncovered when Bob Duchen of River Oaks Communications was studying cell tower regulations for the city.
“Bob was going through a lot of the information that we have connected with our telecom services here with the city and discovered that, indeed, as Dan (Roberts) had pointed out, we did not have a franchise in place with CenturyLink,” Collins said. “So, it was a good catch.”