Select board receives update on cell tower

Edgartown town administrator James Hagerty was praised for his efforts in getting the town a bond rating of AAA. — MV Times

Updated Nov. 2

At its Monday meeting, the Edgartown select board heard from town IT manager Adam Darack regarding last week’s reduced cellular service, which spanned nearly two full days. 

Beginning on the morning of Monday, Oct. 24, until 9:42 pm Tuesday, Oct. 25, many Edgartown residents and Islanders in the area were unable to rely on the town’s cell tower network due to a failure of a backhaul switch, prompting Darack to notify AT&T and Comcast in order to identify the problem as soon as possible.

Darack said upon noticing the lack of service, he contacted AT&T reps and learned that a Comcast fiber was unable to connect to a tower to provide the needed signal. Similar to a residential cable box, he explained, the cable that connects the box is the backhaul. Without that, Darack said, there’s no signal going to the box.

First responder network FirstNet was able to provide — with no fee to the town — temporary service on Tuesday, until normal service was restored fully Tuesday night. Darack said there has been no issue with the tower, or the connecting fibers since.

He said he wanted to update the board on last week’s issue, “since it was a pretty big deal.”

In other business, town administrator James Hagerty received praise from the two present select board members on the town’s recent award of a AAA credit rating by Standard & Poor’s (S&P).

“This has been a multiyear effort of planning, through all kinds of different scenarios,” said select board member Arthur Smadbeck, particularly concerning the unprecedented impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We had no idea on revenues or anything else,” he said, “and for James to have gotten the town AAA — the highest rating for Edgartown — is remarkable, and it’s very meaningful to all the taxpayers of Edgartown in that this will reduce our costs on anything that we’re borrowing.”

Smadbeck extolled Hagerty’s “adherence to his very conservative plans and everything he’s done up to this point to get us here.” 

“They do not give these away lightly,” Smadbeck added; “the board of selectmen are very happy and very proud of him.” 

Select board chair Margaret Serpa concurred. “We’re very fortunate to have James,” she said; “we’re keeping [him].” 

Hagerty called the designation “a group effort” that included the town’s financial management team, financial advisory committee, the select board, and “most importantly, the voters at town meeting,” for supporting the recommended town budgets.

Corrected with the company responsible for providing temporary service.