Tower could put city and county on same frequency

Published 12:00 am Monday, July 23, 2007

The Selma Times-Journal

The E-911 tower will finally bring the City of Selma and Dallas County under the same frequency.

At Monday’s county commission meeting, Chairman Kim Ballard reported he, Mayor James Perkins Jr., County Attorney John Kelly III and City Attorney Jimmy Nunn have drafted an agreement “that simply says the City of Selma will be allowed to co-locate their antennas to the county’s antenna” on the 120-foot E-911 tower, located behind the Dallas County Courthouse.

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“Our original intent with that tower was to provide all the citizens of Dallas County with more effective emergency communications,” Ballard said before the commissioners voted.

The tower allows all emergency responders within Dallas County to communicate with each other over existing radio frequencies.

A 20-foot section of tower will have to be added, according to Ballard, “not necessarily for height purposes, just to have a place that would work to tie their antennas.” The cost to the city is estimated to be $21,000.

“The City of Selma are assuming all responsibility for any cost involved in moving their antennas to that location,” Ballard said. “Any vote that we take to allow the city to co-locate their antennas here will be contingent upon us receiving an executed agreement that the mayor has in his hands.”

The commission unanimously voted for the co-location.

The City of Selma filed a lawsuit against Dallas County regarding the tower in May 2006, citing the tower’s construction within city limits was in violation of two city ordinances.

According to court documentation “Dallas County did not apply for a Certificate of Appropriateness with the Selma Historic District Commission or for a special use permit under the wireless telecommunications ordinance (hereinafter referred to as Tower Ordinance).”

The county won the case, the city appealed, but the appellate court also found in favor of the county.

“It’s been our (intention) all along that this would serve all of Dallas County,” Commissioner Curtis Williams said. “We were not concerned just about the county portion or just about the city portion, but we were concerned about the whole of Dallas County and I think this would be not only the Christian thing to do, but the right thing to do, to allow them to go ahead and connect.”

Commissioner Roy Moore echoed Williams’ sentiments.

“I know there’s been a lot of controversy over this tower, but (serving all of Dallas County) was the purpose of us putting it there. It’s not a city thing, it’s not a county thing.”