Cities bet­ting on cell tow­ers

Rais­ing, rent­ing them an­swers the call for new rev­enue streams. Still, many res­i­dents re­main very op­posed.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution - - FRONT PAGE - By Jeremiah Mcwil­liams jm­cwilliams@ajc.com Cell tow­ers

Scram­bling to shore up bud­gets bat­tered by re­ces­sion, job losses and fore­clo­sures, At­lanta and sev­eral of its neigh­bors are cast­ing their gazes to the heav­ens. Specif­i­cally, to cell tow­ers. Plans to con­struct new tow­ers — and reap mil­lions of dol­lars in rent — have been floated re­cently in cities or school sys­tems in Cobb, Dekalb and Ful­ton coun­ties, and in some cases have spurred vo­cif­er­ous ob­jec­tions from res­i­dents. In one of the most wired ar­eas in the coun­try, the ap­petite for cell tow­ers is grow­ing.

Grow­ing, too, is lo­cal gov­ern­ment’s need for new rev­enue sources. Leases for cell tow­ers can gen­er­ate more than $1 mil­lion an­nu­ally, with the po­ten­tial for more.

The money isn’t nearly enough to re­place rev­enue lost to the re­ces­sion. But an ex­tra mil­lion dol­lars could, for ex­am­ple, pay for a dozen po­lice of­fi­cers in the city of At­lanta.

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