The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Cities betting on cell towers

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

- By Jeremiah Mcwilliams jmcwilliam­ 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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