Settlement Reached for City of Daphne an AT&T
Friday, February, 21, 2020
The ongoing legal battle between the City of Daphne and AT&T will soon be over thanks to mediation. The so-called “turf war” has been raging for about 18 months over orange and white utility markers in roads throughout the city.
The battle began because of a city ordinance calling for the markers to be to two feet above the ground. Daphne crews removed dozens of the markers that it deemed too tall. It also told city residents their taxes might increase because of the dispute.
According to city council president Ron Scott, "An insurance adjuster was at the mediation and made a business decision to pay a monetary amount to stop litigation. We have tentatively agreed let AT&T use their contractor to bring all of the grandfathered nonconforming markers to the required height. For that action, we have agreed to waive permit fees up to $15,000 over 3 years. "
Taxpayers reported not even understanding where their money would go if there were an increase.
Some believe the dispute arose because AT&T believed it was too big to have to worry about city ordinances, but this wasn’t the case. According to one local business owner, if she had to follow the ordinance, why should not AT&T?
The mayor and city council members have not commented on the financial terms of the settlement yet, but they did say that the city would be making adjustments to the ordinance. According to the mayor, “We are hopeful and optimistic about the outcome that would be favorable to the city.” There’s also a chance AT&T will be reimbursed by the city for some of its expenses, but that legal fees will not be passed onto the taxpayers of Daphne.