Let court decision stand

Published 12:00 am Saturday, August 26, 2006

The County has won the first battle in the war over the communications tower.

Circuit Judge Jack Meigs ruled Monday in favor of Dallas County government officials regarding the construction of a 120-foot E-911 communications tower at the county courthouse.

The court based its ruling on the case of Lane v. Zoning Board of Adjustment of the City of Talladega, which states “Alabama law is well settled that city zoning ordinances do not apply to the operation of a governmental function by a governing body, as opposed to a proprietary function … A function is a governmental function if it is the means by which the governing entity exercises the sovereign power for the benefit of all citizens.”

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Unfortunately, rather than opting for a reasonable understanding where there is recognition that the county is in the right, the city, according to Mayor James Perkins Jr., is going to continue spending taxpayers’ money appealing what Judge Meigs says is a done deal.

The mayor said he wants to enlist another court’s opinion.

“We anticipated what has happened,” Perkins said.

“We have already filed the appeal. The whole idea was to get this case out of Selma and Dallas County so that we could get the politics out of the decision and make the determination … We knew regardless of which direction it went, it was going to be appealed because this is a decision that needs to me made at the state level.”

The county thus far, has spent more than $20,000 dollars pleading their case. It’s reasonable to believe that the city has spent a similar amount, if not more since the inception of the tower debate.

It would be interesting to hear from the public whether or not they want the city to continue the fight. That money could have spent elsewhere, where the city could actually benefit from the results, such as downtown beautification or repairs to governmental buildings.

Although the mayor argues that this case is about the county living above the law it seems that there are underlying issues that are driving the continuing debate and unfortunately resulting in increasing costs.

The city needs to realize there isn’t anything wrong with accepting defeat. What is worse is to continue fighting a losing battle.

The city council and mayor should stop fighting the county in court over a tower that will do nothing but improve communications.