Wednesday, February 08, 2017 - Updated: 9:19 AM
Trigg County magistrates are still open to the possibility of working with the City of Cadiz to draft a franchise agreement with companies looking to place free-standing data towers along county and city owned right-of-way spaces.
District 3 Magistrate Jon Goodwin said Monday during a regularly scheduled meeting of Trigg County Fiscal Court that he'd received a number of complaints from constituents in the wake of a motion he made in December to table discussion on entering into a contract to draft a franchise agreement through an outside attorney with Kentucky Backhaul. While Goodwin said he'd been on the receiving end of some ire, his motion was not an intent to kill the project.
"I don't think this court body as a whole at all, especially speaking for myself, I can't speak for the court body, but I certainly am not against the expansion of broadband in our community," Goodwin said. "We need it. We need more broadband capacity in the city of Cadiz, but you know it seemed like it was going to fall on our backs to go out on a limb -- once again -- and for us to sign on the line, and then if everything â ¦ worked out good, then great. Fine and dandy. If it didn't, we'd be hung with 4, 5, 6, 7, $8,000 bill for this franchise agreement that possibly might not even be used."
Goodwin said he'd motioned to table discussion in hopes of developing a fluid plan with the city before proceeding.
Kentucky Backhaul is one of four companies operating in Kentucky to place microcell towers, which work to increase downloading and processing speeds on broadband Internet services.
Bob Brame, Cadiz-Trigg County Planning Commission chairman, recommended to county officials in December that the county should consider obtaining an attorney specifically to negotiate the franchise agreements for independent companies to place free-standing data towers. Brame recommended the city and county consider hiring Linda Ains, a Lexington attorney who specializes in communications agreements, to draft both agreements, simultaneously. Ains has drafted about 30 agreements relating to microcell towers in particular. According to Brame, the agreement would be tailored keep the business non-exclusive, allowing the county to negotiate with other companies as well.
Brame said Ains charges about $300 per hour for the service but writes the agreement so that the franchisee -- in this case the data tower company -- would incur the cost of all fees associated with the project. However, should the franchisee back out of the project, the cost would fall to the city and county. Brame said thus far, no city or county in Kentucky had been required to pay for the franchise agreement as of Jan. 3.
City Council elected to table discussion on the matter as well, questioning the need for an outside attorney to draft the agreement. The council also questioned the need to do so when a microcell tower had not yet been proposed on city property.
Kentucky Backhaul proposed placing the tower on South Hill Road, near Lookout Lane, which is county property.
Planning commission member Ken Culwell said the commission had elected to refund Kentucky Backhaul's filing fee on the permit until a franchise agreement could be reached.
Trigg County Judge-Executive Hollis Alexander said he would reach out to the city again about the possibility of drafting simultaneous agreements.
In other business, the court:
â ¢ Approved County Clerk Carmen Finley's annual fee settlement to the county in the amount of $155,023;
â ¢ approved fee settlement from Trigg County Sheriff's Office to the county in the amount of $489,732;
â ¢ approved the $69,647 purchase of a tractor, rotary cutter and hydraulic grader blade for use at the Trigg Recreation Complex;
â ¢ approved transfers of $25,000 and $50,000 that had been earmarked toward a swimming pool grant match back into courthouse and complex repairs and maintenance after the grant was denied;
â ¢ appointed Linda Joyce Choate to serve on the John L. Street Library board;
â ¢ reappointed Larry Kemp to serve on the planning commission; and
â ¢ reappointed Kenneth Oakley to serve on the planning commission.