BEDFORD, N.Y. – After hiring consultants more than a year ago to help the town develop a master plan for wireless and cell service, Bedford is now leading an effort to do the same for much of northern Westchester, including Yorktown.
Using county money, the CityScape wireless-consulting firm would draw a plan that addresses the telecommunications needs of seven municipalities in this region. In addition to Bedford and Yorktown, they are the towns of Somers, North Salem, Lewisboro and Pound Ridge, and the Village of Mount Kisco.
Bedford Supervisor Chris Burdick said his town had “taken the lead” in creating a committee of representatives of those communities.
Speaking at the Sept. 8 meeting of the Bedford Town Board, Burdick urged approval of a pact with the county that would fund a “fixed-cost” master-plan project.
Town attorney Eric Gordon said the project would have $190,170 in funding, a figure based on a proposal from CityScape. Member municipalities would “provide relevant information regarding their telecommunication services” to CityScape, which would gather that data and produce the report.
The board later voted, 5-0, to endorse the intermunicipal agreement (IMA) with the county.
Under the agreement, “CityScape doesn’t get paid until the county has advanced the funds,” Burdick noted. “I don’t want to see the town have any kind of liability on the money on this… It’s not going to come out of town of Bedford taxpayers.”
In a familiar comment these days on projects getting outside funding, Burdick had urged speedy approval of the IMA, saying, “the county budget is busted.”
“So, we’re very fortunate that the funding has not been defunded and that we still have the opportunity to move forward with it,” he told the board. “But we have been advised that we should move quickly because if we do not the county may well look at defunding this project.”
The town’s action comes a month after Tropical Storm Isaias’ punishing winds ripped through the region, bringing not only widespread power outages but also extended loss of cellphone service. “This work [on a telecom master plan] cannot come too soon, especially given the increased reliance we all place on WiFi and cell service,” Burdick said in a message to Bedford residents.