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LOCKPORT – The Common Council voted last week to sell a 50-year lease on the cellphone tower atop the Outwater Park water tower.

Landmark Dividend will pay a lump sum of $226,423 for the remainder of the 25-year lease the city granted to Sprint Spectrum Communications in 2000.

The El Segundo, Calif., company expressed interest in buying the Sprint lease in December. Sprint would pay its annual rent to Landmark, not the city. After it expires, Landmark will be able to lease space to some other company if it wishes, Corporation Counsel John J. Ottaviano said.

However, Landmark’s payment to the city exceeds the $184,896 the city was to have collected from Sprint over the 12 years remaining on the lease, and Lockport will be able to lease other space on the water tower to other communications companies if the opportunity arises, Ottaviano said.

After receiving Landmark’s offer, the city solicited proposals from three competitors, but Landmark’s price was “the highest and best proposal received,” the Council resolution said.

In antoher matter, the Council approved a $17,500, one-year contract with the Lumsden & McCormick auditing firm to serve as the city’s budget consultant.

Council President Anne E. McCaffrey said two partners in the firm, John Schiavone and Sara Dayton, will divide the work. They estimated they will put in 100 hours on the Lockport budget.

Richard P. Mullaney, who had been budget director since 1983, retired at the end of 2011. He handled the preparation of the 2013 budget under a $12,000 consulting contract.

Craig E. Speers, a former municipal auditor for the State Comptroller’s Office, made a presentation to the Council two months ago and was a candidate for the part-time post.

The Council also voted to hire a telecommunications consultant, Soteria – IT of Orchard Park, for $10,000 to design a new City Hall phone system. The system itself has been estimated to cost about $200,000, which the city will likely borrow, Mayor Michael W. Tucker said.

Aldermen also voted to ratify City Treasurer Michael E. White’s sale of four properties from the Oct. 23 tax foreclosure auction to the second-highest bidder, after White disqualified the high bidder because of violations of auction rules.

One of the rejected bidders, Daryl Ubiles, is suing the city because the city kept the $6,150 in deposits Ubiles put down on two parcels. Ubiles said in his lawsuit that he was unaware that he owed $399 in school and city taxes on another property, but he paid the bill the day he learned of it, which was six days after the auction.

In a reply to the lawsuit filed in court, the city said its stance complies with state law and argued that it’s up to the bidders to know and obey the terms of sale.

Also, the Council set a public hearing for 6 p.m. Feb. 20 on a special-use permit for Lockport Recycling Center, a new construction and demolition waste handling business to be located at 178 Oakhurst St.

email: tprohaska@buffnews.com