Council renews cable contract, OKs cell towers More beds for homeless approved unanimously

November 08, 1995|By Dan Morse | Dan Morse,SUN STAFF

The Howard County Council earlier this week tackled some of the more urgent needs of the 1990s: More cable TV, more cell phone towers -- and more beds for the homeless.

The council Monday night agreed to:

* Extend ComCast Corp.'s cable television contract in Howard by another 15 years.

* Lease nearly an acre of land to American PCS to build a communications tower next to a public golf course under construction in Elkridge.

* Lease an Ellicott City house to Grassroots Inc., a move allowing the homeless shelter organization to increase the number of single men living in its Columbia shelter near Atholton High School.

Regarding the cable television contract, council voted 5-0 to renew its operating agreement with ComCast, which feeds televisions in all but western Howard County.

The agreement is not exclusive. Another company can apply for a similar agreement.

ComCast has agreed to install fiber optic cables and boost its channels to 84. The company also plans to increase its monthly bills by about 60 cents per household over the next few months. Cable viewers' current monthly bill is approximately $23 for "expanded basic" service.

As for the communications tower, the county council was following its plan to divert tower construction away from residential areas and to bundle many antennae on each tower.

The council voted 5-0 to lease 3/4 of an acre to American PCS for $1,200 a year along the driving range at the Timbers at Troy Golf Course near the Route 100-Interstate 95 interchange.

The company will build a tower up to 350 feet tall and -- at no charge -- will allow the county to place 911 or radio equipment along the top 100 feet of the tower.

Last, the council voted 5-0 to lease land in Ellicott City to Grassroots, which plans to transfer some women and children to the Ellicott City shelter from its Columbia shelter near Atholton High School.

Grassroots then would increase the number of single men at the Columbia shelter from four to 12.

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