MADISON — As Madison County continues to implement its new radio communications system, it has run into an issue with an existing tower that was proposed to hold radio communications equipment.
Sheriff Todd Volk told the Madison County board of commissioners at its meeting on Monday afternoon that the tower near the jail building that was to hold some of the equipment has weather damage. That makes it unsafe, he said.
The installers were examining the tower and determined it would not be wise to climb it.
“It (the tower) is 43 years old,” Volk said. “It was moved in ’96, I believe.”
Volk outlined to commissioners in an email some of the issues ahead of Monday’s meeting, alerting them of the danger.
Motorola engineers are changing some of the antennas for the equipment, which could make it possible that a new tower might not be needed.
The engineers were scheduled to arrive Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday, Volk said, weather permitting. One possibility would be to mount the antennas on the top of the jail building, he said.
The county also will need to examine what it should do with the existing equipment on the damaged tower and if it can get by without putting that equipment up again.
“That would save us a couple of hundred of thousand dollars by doing that,” the sheriff said.
The county is having the insurance adjuster consider if the county is covered for the damage. In addition, the adjuster has advised the county that it is covered in case the tower comes down now, such as in a storm, Volk said.
Even with the setback, it sounds as though the county will be able to continue to move forward with the new system that is arriving.
Volk said one scenario that might be necessary is for the county to put some of its equipment on the existing or future Madison water tower, similar to how the City of Norfolk uses its water tower for some of its communications equipment.
The county still expects to get hooked up to the new statewide system within a couple of weeks and begin training.
“We’re going to find the best solution there is that works and spend the least amount of money because I don’t want to spend it, and I know you guys don’t want to either,” Volk said.
Commissioner Ron Schmidt asked when the county would know if it needed another tower, or could use the water tower or some other solution.
“I’ll know by the end of the year,” Volk said.
The new statewide communications system will enable the sheriff’s department to communicate with law enforcement officers from Norfolk and other cities and counties, the Nebraska State Patrol, firefighters and emergency responders. Madison County last upgraded its radio system in 2006-07.
The City of Norfolk also is getting connected to the new statewide system. The county will connect all the other police departments in the county to the new statewide system.
The Madison County Board of Commissioners met Monday in Madison.
Members present: Chairman Ron Schmidt, Troy Uhlir and Christian Ohl.
Others in attendance: Anne Pruss, county clerk; Richard Johnson, county highway superintendent; Joe Smith, Madison County attorney; seven from the public and two reporters.
Meeting lasted: One hour, five minutes.
— Approved a memorandum of understanding for permission to locate a microwave dish on the City of Madison property.
— Approved an agreement with Maximus Consulting Services Inc. for completion of an Indirect Cost Allocation Plan for a three-year period from fiscal year 2019 through fiscal year 2021.
— Approved a substitution of pledged securities with Bank of Newman Grove.
— Canceled a county check payable to Nebraska Health & Human Services.
— Authorized the reimbursement of capital expenditures for new or used equipment for the roads department with the proceeds from sale of bonds.
— Postponed consideration of a resolution prohibiting possession of firearms on certain county-owned properties.
— Discussed with Joe Smith, county attorney, moving a part-time employee to county status and reviewed employment statue with two other employees following discussion on staffing requirements for grants from the State of Nebraska for juvenile accountability.
— Received an updated report on right-of-way acquisition on 841st Road between two landowners for property that will be used to provide the county with room to turn around. The area is north of Battle Creek near the Elkhorn River.
— Declared an emergency nature for an agenda item to be added given the forecast for a snowstorm on Tuesday. Then approved having TMS International of Norfolk continue to provide snow removal on some industrial roads for the county as the company continues to secure a liability bond that is expected to be approved soon.
— Reviewed written reports and processed claims.
— Jerry Guenther