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Bethalto, IL joins municipalities opposing wireless legislation

BETHALTO — The village of Bethalto is joining Glen Carbon, Collinsville, Highland and a growing list of municipalities around the state urging Gov. Bruce Rauner to veto a bill that would allow wireless companies to get around local regulation regarding the installation and construction of equipment placed on municipal property.

Senate Bill 1451 establishes the Small Wireless Deployment Act.

The act limits a municipality’s authority to regulate, site, or charge permit fees for wireless facilities. It also allows private companies to use public right-of-way at a rate far below market value.

Bethalto trustees on Monday unanimously approved a resolution urging Rauner to veto the bill.

The bill, Mayor Alan Winslow told them before the vote, “was basically written by the wireless cell industry.” As such, it is “very much in favor of taking virtually all governance of how these systems are put in locally away from the municipalities.”

The bill has passed the General Assembly and awaits the governor’s signature. But it has been held up since November by Senate President John Cullerton so that state officials have time to address some of the concerns voiced by mayors and other local administrators.

Rauner has said the legislation would help the state upgrade its communication network.

“Quite frankly we just can’t have it,” Winslow told the trustees. “If they’re going to be putting equipment on our easements or our poles or what have you, we need to have some say so in this.”

He added: “I think this is one we definitely need to get on board with.”

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