MADISON — Madison County should have improved emergency communications later this year but won’t have to begin paying for it until next year.
After reviewing the need for a new radio communication system earlier this month, the county’s board of commissioners voted 3-0 Tuesday to purchase a system that will cost $1,032,000.
The radio system, which is expected to last 10 to 15 years, will be financed through Motorola, the company that is providing the system.
Commissioners reviewed various financing options, including those offered through the Nebraska Association of County Officials.
In the end, the county chose a five-year payment plan from Motorola that calls for an interest rate of 2.81 percent, with the first payment due in one year.
That also gives the county an opportunity to include it in the next fiscal year’s budget and subsequent years, while gaining the advantage of putting it to immediate use.
The need for an improved communication system was realized by several events this year, including flooding and a recent standoff in Norfolk that involved several agencies, including other counties, Norfolk police and the Nebraska State Patrol.
In these situations, law enforcement and emergency responders could be within a few blocks of each other yet unable to communicate by radios.
The county will purchase the communications system and then share it with area communities in the county besides Norfolk. Those communities then will pay an annual fee for the radios, along with the county paying a fee for its radios.
Volk said he had visited most of the city councils in the county and they are supportive.
Shane Weidner, Norfolk public safety director, said his city also is looking at getting onto the state system. It will have compatible communications with the county, but the city is looking to have a stronger signal that will penetrate communication inside buildings but will not go out as far.
The county’s new system should help to get rid of “dead spots” in the county where there is no communication available, Volk said.
Madison County last upgraded its radio system in 2006-07, with help from a federal grant.
The Madison County Board of Commissioners met Tuesday.
Members present: Chairman Ron Schmidt, Troy Uhlir and Christian Ohl.
Others in attendance: Anne Pruss, county clerk; Richard Johnson, county highway superintendent; about 20 from the public and three reporters.
Meeting lasted: Three hours, nine minutes.
* Acknowledged receipt of the official bond of Coleen K. Bressler as interim treasurer for Northeast Community College.
* Acknowledged receipt of the continuation certificate for the official bond of Ransom Roman as trustee and clerk of Norfolk Sanitary District.
*Appointed Stephen Sunderman to serve as the Madison County representative on the Norfolk Area Economic Development Council for a three-year term from July 1 through June 30, 2022.
* Appointed Kenneth Biermann to serve as a member of Madison County Veterans Service Committee for a five-year term from July 1, through June 30, 2024.
* Approved an agreement with Moyer & Moyer to provide legal representation of indigent criminal defendants for cases in which the public defender’s office is unable to provide representation due to conflict.
* Approved vacating a portion of 829th Road between 549th Avenue and 550th Avenue. Schmidt recused himself from the action because of a conflict of interest. Uhlir, the vice chairman, led the proceedings. Uhlir and Ohl voted to abandon the road, which will include a turn-around area, with much of the land donated by Schmidt, whose land is next to it.
* Voted to keep open 548th Avenue between 834th Road and 835th Road. Commissioners have received comment since a public hearing was held on it and decided not to vacate it at this time. It may be considered again later.
* Approved a substitution of pledged securities with Pinnacle Bank of Madison.
* Canceled a check payable to Vic’s Engine Service.
* Received the annual report of Madison County Library Association.
* Announced the Nebraska Strong Recovery Project is seeking to assist people.
* Approved an Emergency Management Agency Interlocal Agreement with Region 11 following a presentation.
* Reviewed office budgets and fund balances and approved transfer of budget authority for two funds that will be short of funds at the end of the fiscal year.
* Reviewed written reports and processed claims.