Winsted-Lester Prairie Journal, Jan. 21, 2002

Antenna should improve cell phone clarity near Winsted

By Julie Yurek

Some cell phone users will be getting a stronger signal on their phones, meaning calls should be clear and continuous.

Winsted City Council approved installation of an antenna from VoiceStream Wireless on the town's water tower.

The police department, public works director, and city administrator use VoiceStream.

Reception in Winsted is very spotty at times, City Administrator Brent Mareck said.

VoiceStream does not have the money in its budget for new equipment. However, it located "duplicate equipment" that the city could use, Mareck said.

VoiceStream is not willing to pay rent or fees to the city for this project. The company has also indicated that it will not complete the installation if it incurs any fees, Mareck said.

"A signal should reach Highways 7 and 12 with the antenna," council member Tom Ollig said.

In exchange for tower space and rent, Voice Stream should forego the city's cell phone fees, Mayor Don Guggemos suggested.

New building inspector

Loren Cohnen of Metro West was at the meeting to meet council members.

Cohnen was hired the city's new building inspector at the meeting.

"We're going to meet with the contractors and developers in the area and any interested people from the public," Cohnen said.

"Thank you very much. I know we're going to enjoy working together," he said, as he shook each council member's hand.

New utility bill format

Starting in March, the city's utility bill will be more condensed.

Currently, residents are receiving a bill with eight lines on it. The new one will have six lines.

The sales tax will be combined with the refuse fee, and the surcharge with be combined with the water fees.

"These changes will not affect anything. Rates are not going up or changing. It's just a way to free up some lines on the card," City Clerk Betty Zachmann said.

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