Political Notebook

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And the rookie scores...

You can forgive Ben Groeneweg if he looked a little nervous as he took a seat at the end of the City Council table Tuesday. After all, this was the City Utilities engineering program manager’s first time ever coming before the council.

Even worse, those who had gone before him had had a rough time of it: Former City Utilities employee turned consultant Ted Nitza had been informed that his consulting company’s contract couldn’t be approved because there was no proof his company existed. And parks department officials had to explain – in excruciating detail – why they chose a consultant that didn’t have the lowest prices.

So there was good natured chuckling around the table when council members realized they had fresh meat to devour.

But things went swimmingly for Groeneweg as he explained the city’s deal with AP Wireless Investments to handle renting out space on its water towers for cell phone towers. In fact, it went so well, the measure was approved unanimously.

Of course, Groeneweg came to the table with not just an ace up his sleeve, but something like a royal flush in his hand: He wasn’t asking for the city to spend money; the deal calls for AP Wireless Investments to pay the city $1.3 million up front, plus 80 percent of any future rents.