Salem Hill primary communications tower

The Lee County Commission will negotiate for a lower price after receiving one proposal to replace the Salem Hill primary communications tower. 

The Lee County Commission rejected a bid with Mobile Communications America to replace a communications tower on Salem Hill after receiving only one proposal at its Monday meeting.

“The county commission is respectfully requested to reject the only responsible and responsive bid received and authorize negotiations for the work to be performed,” county administrator Roger Rendleman said.

The commission authorized further negotiations to find a company to replace the communications tower.

“The tower was originally built for another purpose,” District 4 Lee County Commissioner Robert Ham said. “It’s for television. Once we got on the tower, the sheriff ended up on the tower. Point Broadband wanted to be on the tower. They took a drone over it to see, and we saw a lot of corrosion up there. One of the guys went up the tower a little ways and said he wasn’t doing it.

“In Salem, I heard it’s about a 15-mile area that even Point Broadband said they will easily be able to cover in a circle,” Ham said. “This will provide service in a lot of the area where they have nothing.”

Tower replacement

In a memo to the commission, Rendleman highlighted a section in the 1975 ‘Code of Alabama,’ allowing the county to negotiate for a lower price after receiving one proposal to replace the Salem Hill primary communications tower located between Lee Road 252 and 253.

“If no bids or only one bid is received at the time stated in the advertisement for bids, the awarding authority may negotiate for the work through the receipt of informal bids not subject to the requirements of this section,” the ‘Code of Alabama’ stated. “Where only one responsible and responsive bid has been received, any negotiation for the work shall be a price lower than that bid.”

The Columbus, Georgia, company Mobile Communications America offered the only proposal to replace the tower for more than $330,000, according to Rendleman.

“We requested proposals as a public works bid for the replacement of the tower and/or a private partnership for the replacement and use of the location,” Rendleman said. “Despite several inquiries by more than half a dozen companies, we only received one proposal for just the replacement of the current tower.”

Rendleman said the proposal requests to replace the Salem Hill tower were issued May 25, and the deadline to submit a proposal was June 26.

Pay plan review

Updating the Job Classification and Pay Plan, the commission purchased the reviewing services of Evergreen Solutions for more than $48,000.

“The summer of 2007 was the last time the county’s Job Classification and Pay Plan was reviewed,” Rendleman said. “Although we have managed to increase the pay scale in line with the Southern Urban Cost of Living Index over the last 12 years, the job classifications are still based on service needs, technology and a job market as defined in 2007.”

The Florida-based consultation group Evergreen Solutions will provide a review of the Job Classification and Pay Plan updating job descriptions in the classified system, suggesting position reassignments, recommending changes to alter the county’s pay structure and a program capable of creating new position descriptions, Rendleman explained.

“[They will] provide recommendations for a maintenance program to address the creation of new job descriptions, updating current job descriptions and making classification assignment recommendations,” Rendleman said.

Rendleman said Paypoint PR, MGT Consulting Group, Condrey & Associates, HRM and Evergreen Solutions submitted proposals to review the classification and pay plan with costs ranging from more than $37,000 to $77,000.

“A request for proposals was prepared and released on April 23,” Rendleman said. “We received five proposals. Based on the proposals and information gathered in contacting several references, Evergreen Solutions is the professional company that is being recommended to conduct the review and update of the Job Classification and Pay Plan.”

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