By Morgan Bryce
Smiths Station will now be able to collect a business license fee on existing and future cell towers within its city limits following the council’s vote to contract with a municipal telecommunication consultant group during last Tuesday’s city council meeting.
Through their agreement with the New York-based Center for Municipal Solutions, City Clerk Scott Johnston explained that the city will be able to tap into previously untouched revenue.
“They, in no short terms, will do all of our maintenance and homework – everything from writing our city ordinance to tracking down the two cell towers already in existence for fees, licensing or anything else to do with the maintenance and installation of cell towers in our area (and planning jurisdiction). It will not cost the city a penny – they will get paid after the installation of a cell tower,” Johnston said. “Everything they do is regulated by the FCC. For every application the city receives, we will receive either $2,500 or $5,000 – money that is not refundable. In my opinion, it’s a win-win for everybody and takes the onus off us.”
The council also approved Mayor Bubba Copeland’s plan to renew its annual contract with the East Alabama Chamber of Commerce, a new partnership that has paid off dividends for the city.
“They have served us well. In the last year, they have done a lot to promote us and try to bring events and activities to our city … this is a great connection for us to have,” Copeland said.
In other business, the council:
• heard and approved February’s financial statements, presented by Chief Financial Officer Shelby Branton.
• received a check for an undisclosed amount from CTV Beam Executive Director Melissa Gauntt.
The Smiths Station City Council meets on the second and fourth Tuesday of each month, with a work session beginning at 5:30 p.m. EST. and regular meeting at 6 p.m. EST.
Meetings are held in the council chambers within the Smiths Station Government Center, located at 2336 Lee Road 430. For more information, call 334-297-8771 or visit www.smithsstational.gov.