Rowlett Pays Big Money After Building Radio Tower On Wrong Land

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ROWLETT (CBSDFW.COM) – Rowlett taxpayers are paying for a towering mistake after a radio tower was accidentally built on someone’s private property.

An urgently needed police and fire radio tower is in a field adjacent to the city’s property and the city’s residents are baffled about how it happened.

“That’s a shame, really,” city resident John Carpenter said. “It seems like they’d do more research.”

Rowlett’s mayor and city manager said they thought the research was done.

The police and fire radio tower was going up on land the city bought in 2006. But after they started construction in February, they were told by the property owner the tower was on private property next to the land the city owns.

A representative with the contractor said it wasn’t their fault, and that they built exactly where they were told.

The city is under pressure to finish the tower so it can join a regional network of police and fire radios by this fall.

So it bought the land where the tower is sitting for $478,000. The city said the cost to move the tower would have been about the same as buying the land but the city would have to pay an extra $400,000 dollars to join the radio network late.

Rowlett Mayor Todd Gottel said, “We’ve got to have communications for our police and fire.”

“The cost to join the system at a later date would have been more than the property itself,” he said. “Unfortunately, some things happen beyond our immediate scope of control and you have to be able to deal with those issues prudently.”

Now the city is looking to hire an independent investigator to figure out just how such a towering and costly mistake happened.

“That’s what’s bad about it,” Carpenter said. “The taxpayer pays for it. It’s always the taxpayer who has to make up for it.”

The mayor and city manager said the city may build a public safety building on the original property.

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