OSCODA – Upon recently adopting a 5G small cell wireless code, Oscoda Township officials have now approved the fees to be charged for same.

Among other action during their Monday meeting, the township board of trustees adopted a resolution coinciding with the code, with the various costs listed as follows:

• $1,000 application fee for a new wireless support structure(s) or modification of an existing wireless support structure(s).

• $500 for a new small cell wireless facility or facilities, or modification of an existing small cell wireless facility or facilities.

• Annual fees in the amount of $200 for each small cell wireless facility on an existing Oscoda Township structure/pole, and $300 per year charged when the pole or wireless support structure was erected by or on behalf of the wireless provider on or after the effective date of the Act.

Township Superintendent Dave Schaeffer added that, every five years after the effective date of the Act, the maximum fee shall be increased by 10 percent and rounded to the nearest dollar.

This fee structure is to remain in effect until changed via resolution by the board of trustees.

Treasurer Jaimie McGuire asked if interested persons are to obtain applications from the township zoning office, which was confirmed by Schaeffer.

“And then on an annual basis, we would have to bill them?” McGuire asked, which Schaeffer also confirmed, pointing out that this applies to the fees noted in the third bullet point above.

According to Zoning Administrator Lorna Ganci, the fees were discussed at the Aug. 5 meeting of the planning commission, and were unanimously approved to send to the township board.

The board adopted the resolution in a 6-0 vote, with Trustee Timothy Cummings not in attendance.

As previously reported, it was in June when township officials unanimously adopted an ordinance pertaining to small wireless communications facilities, with Ganci noting that it is a stand-alone ordinance for the code book.

As outlined in the document, the intent and purpose of the ordinance is as follows:

To regulate [and] provide a permitting process for the deployment of small wireless communications facilities in conformance with the small wireless communication facilities deployment act, Act No. 365 of the Public Acts of 2018, as amended and the FCC Declaratory Ruling and Third Report and Order entitled “Accelerating Wireless and Wireline Broadband Deployment by Removing Barriers to Infrastructure Investment.” In doing so, Oscoda wishes to ensure the reasonable and fair control and management of public rights-of-way, support new technology, avoid interference with right-of-way use, and protect the public health, safety, and welfare.

As noted at the time by Schaeffer, the ordinance relates to the emerging technology associated with 5G cellular network. The document is essentially the township’s attempt to be able to define acceptable and not acceptable plans for the implementation of 5G or small cell wireless communications within Oscoda.

“In the future, a lot of this communication will be done by satellite. So these are probably a temporary thing for a few years,” explained Trustee William Palmer, who also serves on the planning commission.

He added that, whenever someone is done with these towers, the ordinance requires them to be removed.

In separate business during their latest meeting, trustees adopted a resolution regarding a Truth in Taxation public hearing.

The township will hold the hearing at its next meeting on Monday, Aug. 26, at 7 p.m. The purpose is to receive testimony and discuss a levy of an additional millage rate of 0.0324 mills for the general fund, which would restore its maximum allowable millage rate of 4.6908 mills for the general fund for 2020.

In other matters, officials also addressed the following:

• Discussed the role of a director for the township’s Economic Improvement Committee, with the topic intended to be an action item for the board’s next meeting on Aug. 26.

• Appointed McGuire to serve as an alternate representative for the Cedar Lake Improvement Board.

• Were reminded by Schaeffer that a budget work session has been set for today (Wednesday) at 1:30 p.m. in the Robert J. Parks Library, located at 6010 N. Skeel Ave. He noted that another work session pertaining to the 2020 budget has been scheduled for Wednesday, Sept. 11, at 1:30 p.m., which is also to take place in the library.

• Agreed to place the road millage item – which was voted down during the Aug. 6 special election  (see separate story) – on the ballot again in November. A summary of the discussions surrounding the decision will be printed in next week’s edition of this publication.