AT&T pursuing 2nd cell tower for smokestack

Published 5:00 am Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Following an aldermen meeting discussion with a representativefrom AT&T, cellular customers may be looking forward to betterreception in the downtown area – if studies show the city’ssmokestack can hold the weight of another cell tower.

AT&T representative Billy England spoke to the board ofaldermen at Tuesday night’s meeting, asking for their permission tobegin studies on the structural integrity of the smokestack. Hetold the board the communications giant is looking to co-locate onthe top of the structure, as Cellular South already has a towerthere.

“We’d like to have a structural engineer to make sure that itwill hold the additional weight of the antennas that will bemounted,” he said.

England said the tower would not be the only addition to thesite that will also be the home of the Brookhaven Multi-ModalFacility.

He said there would also be an 11.5- by 20-foot prefab shelterfor the communications equipment that will run the tower. But eventhat will be discussed with engineers, England said.

“We’ll have a landscaping engineer that will work with the cityabout designing and possibly some shrubbery so it’s not aneyesore,” he said.

Ward Five Alderman D.W. Maxwell made a motion that the city workwith AT&T on the steps involved with researching whether or notthe tower would be best located on the smokestack based on itsstructural integrity. The motion passed unanimously.

England said he would be back in touch and have the structuralstudies done sometime in late August or early September.

Meanwhile in discussions about a cell tower committee formed inpast years, Mayor Les Bumgarner said he will be disbanding all thecommittees from the previous administration. He said in the futureas things arise that need committees, they will be reappointed.

Bumgarner also asked the board to hold off on somereappointments to the planning commission as the terms served byMike Clark and Lu Becker are coming to an end.

“I’m coming up with an organized system to make sure thateveryone is represented,” said Bumgarner, adding that he wanted totweak the way appointees are designated and when each alderman hashis or her turn to appoint someone.

The mayor also presented a list of 28 goals he has for his timein office, saying that they are things he’d like to see happen inthe city. Some of the projects are already under way and some arelong term, he said.

“These are things I want to do, and if we can’t do them, wecan’t do them, but it gives us somewhere to start,” he said.

The list includes items like keeping the city’s current fireinsurance rating by making certain water and sewer systems and fireloops are upgraded and established in annexation areas. Finishingthe Multi-Modal Facility, the lights at Interstate 55 Exit 40, andthe paving of Brookway Boulevard are also on the list, as areprojects like a grant for Railroad Park, a recycling program inBrookhaven and a “Pot Hole Patrol” to monitor city streetconditions.

Bumgarner said he plans to work hard to find grants to fund manyof the projects on the list, because he said it looks like the citycould be approaching tough economic times if spending is notcurtailed.

“I’m not interested in doing a lot of spending,” he said. “I’minterested in getting grants and keeping as much money as we can inthe general fund.”

He also urged aldermen to look for ways to save, saying budgettalks over the next month will be a good time to focus on beingsensible with spending.

“You need to see the budget to understand,” he said. “I justdon’t think we need to make a lot of large purchases in the nearfuture.”