Dewey Beach commissioners voted 4-1 May 14 to hire CTC Technology & Energy to assist with wireless facilities and 5G pole placement application review.
Town Manager Bill Zolper said officials evaluated proposals from four companies and eliminated one from Florida. Remaining vendors were comparable in terms of service, Zolper said, with JMT, an engineering company with offices in Newark and Dover, standing out due to its contract work for Delaware Department of Transportation in reviewing wireless permit applications.
Commissioner David Jasinski said JMT’s role as a DelDOT consultant cuts both ways; he said JMT reviewed and approved vendor wireless permit applications in Dewey on behalf of DelDOT, from which it would receive more contract work than the Town of Dewey Beach.
“I think the conflict of interest thing is a big issue to address the public’s concern about what’s already been approved,” Jasinski said.
Assistant Town Manager Jim Dedes said he understood the concern about a conflict, which he said town officials shared to a degree. Dedes said JMT would have a separate division represent the town, and not the same group that consults for DelDOT. JMT was also most cost-effective, he said.
Commissioner Gary Persinger said he would back town officials’ best judgment; Commissioner Bill Stevens said he didn’t believe there was a conflict of interest and motioned to approve JMT as consultant.
Commissioner Paul Bauer questioned whether JMT had any success in denying permit applications. Dedes said it has had some success in Wilmington and Bethany Beach, but that very few pole placements have been blocked.
Jasinski said if JMT stood head and shoulders above other vendors, the town might be in a position to do business with it. All vendors can provide technical expertise, he said. Mayor Dale Cooke said he agreed.
“Our residents have made it very clear to us they want us to have some fight in this,” Jasinski said. “I believe that a vendor who has a little bit more distance from DelDOT is going to be in a position to help us with the best outcome.”
After Stevens’ motion failed 2-3, with Persinger and himself voting for JMT and Bauer, Cooke and Jasinski voting against, Jasinski’s motion to approve CTC passed 4-1 with Stevens voting against.