Commission approves lease for continued use of comm tower

Published 9:08 pm Tuesday, October 2, 2018

LaFAYETTE — On Monday, the Chambers County Commission approved the use of funds to rent the tower site providing communications for the entirety of county emergency services.

911 Director Donnie Smith spoke to the commission about the tower and its placement. Previously, East Alabama Fire and EMS, City of Valley Police, Lanett Police, City of Lanett Fire and EMS, Chambers County Drug Task Force, Chambers County Sheriff’s Office and Chambers County Fire and Rescue used a tower owned by RMS Communications.

When RMS Communications went out of business, Smith said, the tower site was rented in part by each of these departments from its new owner, InSite LLC. With the departments’ lease coming due, the Chambers County Emergency Communications District negotiated a new lease with InSite making it so that CCECD paid the rent each year while the other departments paid them back incrementally.

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“All these leases came due this summer,” Smith said. “The 911 board asked me to take the initiative and negotiate one lease with this new vendor, Insight LLC, that would encompass all these users.”

The tower site rent handled by CCECD will be $18,000 a year with each department contributing $214.29 a month.

“It puts all leases under one umbrella,” Smith said. “911 will handle everything and recover the cost from the users.”

The commission’s approval was needed for the sheriff’s office to enter the memorandum of understanding with CCECD to start making those payments each month. The commissioners quickly agreed to the terms as the tower site provides all necessary communications that bring emergency help to citizens.

“All those users are at that site and that is why I was adamant about us getting that portable tower because if we lose this site, we’ve lost a lot of our radio infrastructure,” Smith said.

The referenced tower is the portable, self-supporting communications tower received by Chambers County EMA in July. In case of a failure with the main tower, the 100-foot telescopic portable could act as a replacement, keeping emergency personnel informed and in touch.

Also at the meeting Monday night, the commission was introduced to two new sheriff’s deputies who graduated Sept. 14. CJ Robinson and River Hadaway stood in front of the commissioners who thanked them for their service.

Maj. T.J. Wood of the Sheriff’s Dept. came to announce the deputy of the quarter.

“They’re nominated by the ones who see what they do, see how they perform and they nominate who they believe is an overachiever and who goes above and beyond. This dime, Deputy Keegan Daniel was nominated and will be receiving the award this quarter.”