ALBANY — Responding to a recent presentation by Walt Woodard of Cell Tower Solutions, which is seeking to conduct a Board of Tax Assessors-recommended audit of equipment located on cell towers in the county, officials with the Georgia Wireless Association made a pitch to the Dougherty County Commission Monday to “educate” county officials on ways to assess equipment without utilizing a third party.
Richard Sullivan spoke on behalf of the group, telling commissioners “we feel like, as an industry, we’re doing what we’re supposed to do.”
At question is the reporting of updated equipment added to the towers that would increase the tax burden of cellphone companies utilizing it. Woodard told the commission at its Sept. 24 meeting cell providers may be under-reporting equipment by as much as 60 to 80 percent.
Sullivan said Monday methodology is in place to give an accurate accounting of cell providers’ equipment on the towers.
“I encourage the board to take advantage of opportunities that exist (to self-regulate equipment reporting) and to check the references of companies making an offer (to audit the providers),” Sullivan said. “We can make arrangements to take county personnel to the sites of the cell towers and show them everything we’ve got there.
“We make that same offer to the board of tax assessors. We’re more than willing to educate; all you need to do is ask.”
Commissioner Jack Stone said he hoped the tax assessors board will consider the Wireless Association’s offer.
“If our people are educated, they’ll be able to do (what Woodard) offered at no cost,” Stone said.
Also at the work session, Governmental Affairs Committee chair Gloria Gaines made a three-tiered recommendation on future dealings with the county’s Library Board.
“I want to preface this by saying we appreciate all our volunteer boards,” Gaines said. “Our hope is that these recommendations will improve communications between these two boards.”
Gaines said the committee’s recommendations include appointing a member of the County Commission to serve on the Library Board, waiting until the end of the year to determine if all current board members intend to remain and requiring that the Library Board make a report to the commission before the year is out and thereafter on a regular basis.
The recommendation comes in the wake of the Library Board’s recent recommendation that two library branches in the county be closed due to reduced usage and funding.
The commission also got a look at a Public Works-recommended list of Special-Purpose Local-Option Sales Tax VI-funded roads for resurfacing for the current fiscal year. Roads on the list include Marlborough, Millbrooke, Holly, Nichols, Lonesome, Oliver and Doles. The list encompasses 5.32 miles of resurfacing.
Stone expressed his displeasure at the lack of local bids on roof repairs at the Tallulah Massey Library branch, which staff recommended be awarded to Macon-based L.E. Schwartz.
“We’re willing to accept local contractors even if their bid is a little higher, but none of our local folks even submitted a bid on this project,” Stone said after the meeting. “Those folks complain all the time about not getting jobs in the county, and we can’t even get them to submit a bid.
“Seems like all they want to do is complain; they don’t want to do the work.”
Schwartz’s bid on the project came in at $23,000.