Haleyville City Council expresses objection to SB264

HALEYVILLE - A bill working its way through the Alabama Senate is being looked unfavorably upon by the Haleyville City Council, which expresses its dissatisfaction in a formal objection during their May 6, meeting.
With council members Royce Benefield and Blue Russell absent, the council passed a resolution objecting to Senate Bill 264, which would allow the installation of utility poles and wireless facilities within a city’s owned right-of-way without the city having any recourse to object.  Some of the city’s objections to the bill were outlined within the resolution, and those objections are as follows:

• This proposed legislation preempts the ability of local governments to adopt ordinances in conflict with this legislation or to fashion different legislation to address this subject matter at the local level;
• The proposed legislation exempts power utility companies from certain requirements, creating an incentive for these companies to place additional poles on city-owned right-of-way;
• The legislation would prohibit local governments from charging in excess of $100 per pole, per year for the placement of new wireless infrastructure poles in local government right-of-way and would allow utility poles in the right-of-way to be as high as 50 feet from grade or 10 percent taller than any existing pole within 500 feet, which could create aesthetically objectionable utility poles.
“This legislation unduly benefits the wireless industry at the expense of the residents of Haleyville’s ability to manage its rights-of-way at the local governance level.  This legislation needs to be restructured with greater deference  given to local governments and local control of rights-of-way,”  the resolution reads.
This objection has nothing to do whatsoever with freedomFIBER’s plans to bring wireless service into Haleyville, a project the city has been working closely with Tombigbee Electric Cooperative, freedomFiber’s parent company upon for quite some time.
“freedomFiber set their poles between six to nine months ago, so this has nothing to do with freedomFIBER,”  Mayor Ken Sunseri said.  “SB264 gives special privileges to major companies.  The city has a right to project it’s right-of-way and we are going to project those rights.”
In other business during the council’s May 6, meeting, the council approved a low bid of $169,101.55 received by Central Alabama Asphalt & Construction Company, LLC for the city’s spring paving project.  Areas that will be paved are as follows:

• 20th Street
• 20th Avenue
•The south parking lot of South Haleyville Church of Christ, which the city has agreed to maintain due to the parking lot being used frequently for events at the Haleyville Scout Hut, a city owned and maintained property, which does not have enough parking spaces.
The city will provide the asphalt for the project, which will be purchased through the Winston County Commission’s annual asphalt bid.
The council agreed to purchase a Kubota mower in the amount of $12,900.  The mower will be purchased from the $16,000 raised during the recent auction of surplus equipment by the city.
Sunseri reported to the council that the city has been approved for funding from the Federal Aviation Administration for wildlife fencing at Posey Field.  The project will include the construction of approximately 4,070 linear feet of 10’ tall woven wire fence, with a wildlife exclusion fence skirt and construction of a double swing vehicle gate.  
A low bid from North Alabama Glass in the amount of $2,675 was approved for doors at Haleyville Park & Rec.
Sunseri announced that Haleyville Police Lieutenant Jason Williams was retiring, effective July 1.  Sunseri noted that he had accumulated enough vacation time to only work two more days, and would use his vacation time for the rest of his employment leading up to his retirement date.  Sunseri also announced that part-time dispatcher Hayden Southern had announced his resignation, which will be effective at the end of May.
Council member Drew Thrasher gave the police report for April.  Haleyville officers worked seven accidents, took 27 incident and offense reports, issued 124 citations and made 42 arrests, with 71 persons charged. 
The next meeting of the Haleyville City Council will be Monday, May 20, at 5:30 p.m. in the courtroom of Haleyville City Hall.

See complete story in the Northwest Alabamian.
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