LIMA — After hearing from a Verizon Wireless representative, Lima City Councilors voiced their support of a 5G antenna installation on the top of the Paul Street water tower during a meeting discussing the issue held Wednesday night
Councilor Jamie Dixon said he called for the meeting after hearing about health concerns from residents who lived near the proposed tower.
Words from Utilities Director Mike Caprella and a Verizon representative, Steve Carr, however, largely put those concerns to rest for those in attendance.
Caprella said radiation that may come from such a tower is well-regulated by a number of federal agencies that put certain limitations in place. Reading from a Verizon fact sheet, Caprella said that the radiation that actually hits the ground is at less than 0.1% intensity than what the Environmental Protection Agency allows.
“This (antenna) meets all the standards of the Federal Communication Commission. It’s putting out less radiation than your laptop. We’re not talking about high levels. It’s more of a booster antenna,” Caprella said.
Carr said that Verizon often places antennas throughout the country on existing structures, including hospitals. He said that if the antennas or the technology were in any way dangerous, such places would not allow the placement of these antennas, or other boosting technology, beside those who are already ill.
“If we have problems with any of that stuff, none of the hospitals would allow us to do that whatsoever,” Carr said.
Besides the Paul Street water tower, Carr said that Verizon is placing additional antennas near the Joint Systems Manufacturing Center and on top of the Century Link building after hearing from customers dissatisfied with cell service in the local area.
The antennas are currently not using 5G, but Carr said that they will be once that technology is better established.
If city councilors approve the agreement with Verizon to set up the antenna, the city would receive $90,000 over a five-year period. Dixon asked if those dollars could be funneled back into the neighborhood near the water tower.
Caprella said that it may be possible, but he wanted to talk to the city’s auditor before giving a confirmation.
“We had concerns and wanted to discuss it,” Councilor Derry Glenn said. “I think it’s going to be a win-win. We had a lot of people from the south end of Lima that had worries.”
Councilor Peggy Ehora added, “I do think that it is important to have conversations about some of this stuff, because I do believe there’s a whole lot of information out there.”
Reach Josh Ellerbrock at 567-242-0398.