Q May our town allow a local church to install, at their own expense, a passive audio/visual repeater array on the town’s water tower so as to enable the church to broadcast their weekly services, or would it be an improper donation? Would the church allowing the town to use the system as an emergency communications channel or paying rent affect this? Does the fact that this is a church affect the decision, and would this require the town to make similar allowances for any other future entities?

A A municipality may permit the use of space on its water tower for the purpose of installing a repeater system, provided that the municipality receives fair market value for such use. Either emergency use or rent would be appropriate, if the value received by the municipality is fair market value for the use of the space. Municipal authorities may enact policies for the use of municipally-owned property by private individuals and groups, including churches, but they must be uniformly and consistently applied to all groups or individuals who seek to use such space. (Attorney General’s Opinion to Sutton, August 31, 2012)