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Tuesday, Mar 31, 2015

Cell tower lease generates almost $1 M for school district


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BROOKSVILLE - A 295-foot cell tower on Broad Street is expected to bring in $975,000 to the Hernando County School District over the next few years following school board approval Tuesday of a long-term lease agreement between Hernando County Schools and SBA Towers V LLC.

"So, that's a windfall," said School Superintendent Bryan Blavatt. "We were able to take a tower that we had, and really wasn't doing much, and have the ability to get over $900,000 in rent."

According to the lease, the cell tower and the property it rests on are both owned by the school district, and after 5.5 percent attorney fees, or $53,625, total net profit gains for the district is $921,375, according to budget information.

"I'm certainly pleased we were able to complete an agreement on the cell tower. That's a project I worked with staff, especially (Manager of Communication and Public Relations Roy Gordon)," Blavatt said. "He's done a lot of work with it."

Gordon could not be reached for comment.

Once revenue is generated from the lease, incoming superintendent Lori Romano and her staff will decide where to spend it, Blavatt said.

"I had always earmarked that for technology, because we're getting it from that," Blavatt said. "But Dr. Romano ... she's the boss."

The cell tower lease agreement has been an almost three-year project, Blavatt said, and he began work on it with an attorney shortly after becoming superintendent.

"In these tough times, any way to generate funding that's not coming out of the taxpayers hands is good," he said.

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