Amity Township hires attorney to help it regulate 5G cell towers

Amity Township Municipal Building

The Amity Township supervisors on Wednesday approved engaging the services of the Cohen Law Group, Pittsburgh, to assist in finalizing its ordinance to regulate 5G mini cell towers.

Solicitor Brian Boland said the Federal Communications Commission has recently added regulations — some inconsistent with current local ordinances and rules dealing with the aesthetics of mini towers — that should be addressed in Alsace's ordinance.

“We looked at ordinances at several other municipalities and found them inadequate, as they do not address current changes,” Boland said. “Mini cell towers are coming and we want to be ready for them.”

The Cohen Law Group specializes in representing municipalities in cable, telecommunication and broadband maters.

The township will pay the law group $300 an hour for any work it does on the ordinance.

In other business, the supervisors heard a request from Sue Fix, board member and treasurer of the Boone Area Library, for an increase in funding for 2020.

The township currently funds the library at $1.37 per capita, which totals $17,250.

Fix said the state and county are now increasing funding to libraries only if the local municipality supports the library at a rate of $2.50 per capita.

The library also serves Union Township and Birdsboro and Fix said the current average among the three municipalities is $2.27 per capita.

Fix asked the supervisors to increase Amity's allocation to $1.82 per person, which would be equal to $23,000.

With the increase, the average per capita rate for the library would be $2.54.

The supervisors questioned how much Amity Township residents use the library.

Fix said the township usage has been 31% from January through September of this year.

The supervisors will address the library funding in the upcoming 2020 budget process.

Also, township Manager Troy Bingaman informed the supervisors he received word from the Animal Rescue League of Berks County that it is returning to a per capita charge of $1 per resident.

Under that formula, Amity would pay $12,583.

Bingaman said that is bad news for the township because under the 2019 agreement, it paid a $1,500 retainer and spent $3,800 in services through the end of August.

“The municipalities which currently contract with the ARL should band together to show that the per capita formula does not work,” Bingaman said. “I plan on trying to meet with the new executive director.”

Alexis Pagoulatos in June succeeded Tom Hubric in the role. Hubric last fall said the ARL could not longer afford its old funding model made up mostly of donations from municipalities and offered them two options: fee-for-service or a per-capita payment of $2 per resident. Most Berks municipalities, including Alsace, rejected entering contracts with the ARL under either option.

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