Commissioners hear about new radios and a new building

Marion County commissioners heard from Sheriff Rob Craft about the 800 MHz system and EMS Director Ed Debesis talked about the possibility of a new building during their Jan. 17 meeting.

Craft asked when a meeting could be coordinated between the county, cities and other agencies regarding a transition to 800 MHz radios.

Commissioner Randy Dallke asked where the cities are regarding the new system.

“I don’t know, but I think we should have this meeting soon,” Craft said.

Commissioners Dianne Novak and Lori Lalouette agreed with Craft; by concensus, the board directed Craft to begin scheduling meetings.

Dallke said the meeting agenda should include a proposed timeline and the expense involved in transition­ing from the current 400 megahertz frequency radios to the new 800 MHz systems.

“The intent is (for county dispatch) to maintain both systems for a period of time,” Craft said.

But the goal would be that fire and police departments would eventually have the same equipment.

The Marion City Council was expected to talk about the 800 MHz equipment at its meeting Monday, Jan. 30.

Debesis brought financial information for review. He said $585,702 was billed and $416,034 has been collected.

“The amount written off was $186,998 and $164,279 outstanding as of Dec. 31,” he said, adding that the department met budgeted income estimates for the year.

Dallke said one item that he believes should be added to the county to-do list is consider a new EMS building. Debesis said a new building would be an asset.

Dallke said the perfect location for an EMS building would be around Canada because it would be centrally located to all parts of the county.

Novak said she would like to see this facility more centrally located, and agreed that Canada might be a good possibility.

Other business

In other business, the commissioners:

• discussed the erosion issue on 190th with a notice of an agreement for a grant award presented for approval and signature for the Emergency Watershed Protection-Streambank Stabilization Program. Dallke said he attended a project meeting Jan. 9 and things are moving slowly forward.

• heard Bud Druse, transfer station and recycling director, report problems with a crane even after considerable repairs. Maintenance costs for the 11-year-old crane were reviewed by the board. Druse suggested an excavator instead of a crane, but Dallke said he wasn’t in favor of using an excavator inside a building.

Druse was directed to get bids for replacing the motor and lift portions of the crane.

• heard Druse report that a review of the county’s recycling program costs indicated savings in 2016 at $11,084 by diverting recyclables away from the landfill.

Druse added there was a perceived savings on disposal costs for household hazardous waste resulting from joining the Big Lakes HHW group.

“The cost for disposing of household hazardous waste would have been about $24,573 compared to the actual cost paid through Big Lakes HHW of $15,910,” he said. The savings was about $8,663.

• heard the Northwest District Weed Directors meeting is from 10 a.m. to noon Feb. 15.

• discovered a light bar for the transfer station/recycling department’s pickup will cost about $450 plus the expense of mounting it.

• received updates from Emergency Management Director Randy Frank, who provided hazmat refresher training for about 30 people in the county.

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