Thorsby Council discusses right-of-way agreement

Published 5:54 pm Tuesday, November 18, 2014

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Thorsby’s Town Council on Monday heard from a representative of Southern Light, a company wanting to use town rights-of-way to install underground fiber optic cable.

The telecommunications company, which is based in Mobile, had previously sent the town a right-of-way usage agreement, but the council tabled the matter until they could find out more about the project.

Scott McMahan with Southern Light said the agreement would allow Southern Light to install an underground network through a 2- to 3-inch conduit.

The company mostly serves businesses and other commercial customers such as hospitals, universities, military bases and wireless carriers.

The cable would reach a cell tower that is just outside town limits, and the council discussed the possibility of the cell tower property being annexed into the town because that would allow the town to collect money off the services provided by the tower.

Other potential benefits of allowing Southern Light to install a network through town could be improved internet service for Thorsby Town Hall and Thorsby School.

Councilmembers and Public Works Director Terry Jackson voiced concerns about the effect the work would have on town utilities.

McMahan said an effort would be made to work with town officials to avoid damage to utilities, but if the work caused a water line to be ruptured, for example, the company would reimburse the town for the expense of repairing the line.

“We do have a long history and a good history of working with utility companies,” McMahan said.

McMahan encouraged Mayor Jean Nelson to work with other town officials and make any requests or suggestions in the form of amendments to the right-of-way usage agreement, and send the document back to Southern Light for review.

In other business, the council:

•Approved spending up to $2,400 to re-install the fence around the town’s water tower that was taken down to accommodate recent work to re-paint the tower.

•Approved Eric Argo as a part-time police officer.

•Approved the minutes from the Nov. 3 meeting, along with paying of the bills with the necessary transfer of funds.