City-County Negotiations

By: Stan Torgerson
By: Stan Torgerson

Officials within Lauderdale County hope to build a new 500 ft radio tower to replace the current one that is in poor condition. The proposed tower would be built on six acres of land owned by the city adjacent to the Fire and Police training facility.

The present tower is rusty and could fall down in a high wind. A private company would build it, pay $600 per month for the land and lease space to the city and the county, 9-1-1, Metro Ambulance and private firms for profit, as well.

County officials say the city should apply the lease money to pay for all governmental antenna spaces. The city says everyone should pay for their own spaces and the lease money belongs to them. Monday they negotiated.

"You know this thing has been going on a year and a half or longer," said Councilman Bobby Smith, a member of the E-911 Commission.

"We have already put these two entities together in the 9-1-1 commission," said Craig Hitt, the president of the Board of Supervisors. "I hate to see us go back and talk about city and county."

Ultimately they decided to explore the possibility of 9-1-1 buying the six acres from the city, and then deeding them to the county. The lease money would be used to pay for the necessary governmental antenna space.

We asked Councilman Smith if that meant the city has abandoned the idea of keeping the entire $600 rental.

"Well I cannot speak for the mayor or other council members right now but it looks that way," said Bobby Smith.

Hitt said even though the location is on city property he has always understood the deal was to be a wash, with the lease money to be used to pay for all governmental tower space.

"My feeling there is that we came to this late stage in the game with that understanding and I hope that we can continue to work in that direction," said Hitt.

Mayor Smith was not available for comment but his past position is the land is city property and they are entitled to keep the rental money.


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