The Marion County Jail was at the forefront of discussion at Monday’s Marion County Commission meeting, including an emergency transmission tower and street renovation in front of the jail.
The commissioners were told that some of the neighbors don’t want a nearly 100-foot emergency transmission tower at the new jail site.
Despite the resistance, Emergency Management Director Dan D’Albini said he still thinks the tower, with a wind resistance rating to withstand 200-mile-an-hour winds, is the best way to go.
The radio tower on the old jail has to be abandoned for emergency communications, with its climate control indoor needs, to locate in the new jail, he said.
D’Albini said the tower also needs the height for signals to beam out to the far reaches of the county above tall obstacles such as the courthouse.
But Commission Chairman Dan Holub said he has received numerous calls from neighborhood residents who don’t want the tower blowing down on top of their homes if the homes aren’t blown away first.
Among possibilities discussed as alternatives were running a cable under the stream bed and across the creek to the water tower on the hill, running a cable for an antenna to be placed on the top of the courthouse, or running the cable to place an antenna atop a grain silo at the co-op elevator.
Commissioner Randy Dallke noted that it would have to be around a foot-thick cable to carry the signal necessary. He added, “the public may not like it, but a tower might just have to be there (at the jail).”
D’Albini said there would be sufficient space on the tower to lease spots on it to companies requiring signal transmission.
After visiting with members of the Marion City Council, Commissioners Dallke and Roger Fleming, with Holub absent, approved a proposal that would pay up to $62,000 for street rebuilding of Fourth and Williams Streets by the new jail for the county’s share on street destruction during jail construction.
City Administrator Doug Kjellin said the city would want the street surface completely removed to enable inspection and possible replacement of a very old water drainage viaduct underneath to prevent any future collapse.
City Councilor Jerry Cline asked that the county and the city, in consideration of public desire to preserve old brick streets, consider making pedestrian brick cross-walks on the street.
Cline also said the two governments, in rebuilding the street, should consider asphalt surfacing as well as concrete surfacing for cost effectiveness.
County Road and Bridge Director Randy Crawford supported Cline’s suggestion, saying that although he generally liked concrete better because it lasts longer, the relative pricing may favor asphalt.
Kjellin proposed that city crews tear out the street, saving as many bricks as possible while excavation to depth.
He said the county crews would then provide the base rock with compacting, and grade the street to depth.
His original plan would be for a local contractor to pour 7 inches of concrete surface.
Kjellin said the city would assume full responsibility for the portion of the street from Main to Williams Street that wasn’t as damaged by jail construction.
Kjellin estimated $39,643 cost for the city from Main to Williams, $44,143 for the city from Williams to the library and $66,214 for the county from Williams to the library.
He said that the city already has provided more than $18,000 in support work for the jail project, including the cost of a transformer and crew time in installing utilities.
Kjellin suggested that for the remaining work the county act as primary contractor with the city reimbursing the county for its share.
In other matters, Fleming said that if the county is going to drop insurance coverage for the Lions Club booth building at the fairgrounds in Hillsboro, the Lions should be given the option to provide insurance for it.
The commissioners approved paying up to half of concert fees for the county fair to attract more people with funding from the county guest bed tax.
Environmental Health Director Tonya Richards and Transfer Station Director Rollin Schmidt told commissioners they are finding they don’t have time, and it isn’t worth the expense to check how many Dumpsters businesses have for paying county waste disposal assessment.