By Fred Woods

Todd Holt, representing Point Broadband, a relatively new internet service provider, came before the Lee County Commission at its last meeting to request to lease space on the county-owned Salem Hill tower. Point is focusing its efforts on rural and suburban areas in Georgia, Alabama and surrounding states. Its initial interest in Lee County is in the Beauregard area.
Holt said the cost of Point’s wireless broadband services were $65 month;y for 10 megabits and $85 for 20. Point can provide a gigabit if needed. Wireless broadband requires line-of-sight transmission so the Salem Hill tower which now houses Lee County’s radio transmitters (Board of Education, Sheriff’s Office, Emergency Management Agency and some volunteer fire departments) is especially desirable because of its height.
According to Holt, his company has already leased space on several towers in the Beauregard owned by the Beauregard Water Authority and either the Salem Hill Tower or one other site in the same general are needed to relay the broadband signals. Of the two, Salem Hill is preferred because of its height.
The commission voted to go ahead with the lease after certain legal points were negotiated between Point Broadband representatives and Roger Rendleman, County Administrator    , and Stan Martin. County Attorney. No timetable was specified, although the Point spokesman indicated timing was extremely to his company.
County Engineer Justin Hardee also provided an ATRIP and other federal aid project status update. Lee County was awarded 23 projects, including 15 bridge replacements and 42 miles of road resurfacing under the Bentley-era ATRIP program.
Roughly 36 miles of resurfacing have been completed and the remaining six miles has been let and is awaiting commencement.
Eight bridges have been replaced  and a ninth should be completed next week. One bridge is awaiting start of construction and the remaining five are in various stages of design or right-of-way acquisition.
Since 2012,through Lee County’s federal aid and MPO (Metropolitan Planning Organization) programs, it has secured more than $4.3 million which has been used to resurface more than 19 miles of road, in addition to the ATRIP funds.
But Hardee reminded: because of the regulations attached to their use, these funds can only be used on 25 percent of Lee County’s roads. Somehow we must find a way to address the funding needs of the remaining 75 percent of our road system.
In other action the commission
granted a retail liquor license to the La-Z-Bee Package Store,
deferred, once more, final plat approval for the Hornet Flats subdivision on Lee Roads 123 and 165,
heard Sheriff Jay Jones announce that May 14-20 will be National Police Week and that on May 16 at 10 a.m. at the Opelika Police Department there will be a special recognition ceremony for the five Lee County peace officers who have given their lives in the line of duty,
awarded the county’s 2017 Full Depth Reclamation. Resurfacing and Striping contract to East Alabama Paving Company (special note was made of the similarity of bids of the two low bidders),
approved Southern States for the county’s daily banking services and Regions Bank for Procurement Card Services, and
approved a Fuelmaster software upgrade for the county at a cost of $18,370.