(Clarinda) — After years of deliberation and setbacks, Page County took a major step in upgrading the county’s communications system Friday morning.
By unanimous vote, the county’s board of supervisors approved the signing of the contract with Motorola Solutions for implementation of a digital communications system. Last month, the supervisors accepted the county emergency management agency commission’s recommendation to enter into a contract with Motorola Solutions for the 700-megahertz system, at a cost of more than $1.6 million. Supervisor Chuck Morris–who also chairs the commission–noted the milestone prior to the contract’s signing in the courthouse board room. Morris says fixing problems with the county’s radio system was a campaign pledge in 2016, and he complimented Supervisors Chair Jon Herzberg–the board’s longest-tenured member–for his efforts in addressing the issue.
“First responders are soon going to have a world-class communications system,” said Morris. “So, I know that you (Herzberg) and many others have struggled with this issue for a long, long time. We’re finally going to get it done.”
Morris says the Southwest Rural Water District is giving the county’s new system a boost by allowing 911 equipment to be placed on one of their water towers.
“The Southwest Rural Water District met last Thursday evening,” he said, “and they are going to allow us to hang their equipment on their tower at no charge. (County Attorney) Carl (Sonksen) and their attorney have been working on an agreement to protect everybody. It also included, for the last 20 or 30 years, secondary roads has had equipment on the east tower. So, the agreement will also include a hold harmless for both, so everyone’s protected.”
Morris read a statement from Soutwest Rural Water District General Manager Kevin Gowing, confirming the company’s commitment to the radio upgrades:
“Speaking on behalf of the SWRWD Board of Directors and Management we are delighted to partner with Page County on this project,” Gowing’s statement said. “The SWRWD values the working relationship it has built with the Page County Board and Public Service Departments over the past 40 years. We appreciate the opportunity to work with Page County to locate the new 911 equipment on our SW Service Area water tower located east of Shenandoah on Highway 2. The location and elevation of this water tower will assist with the improvements to the Page County 911 communications. SWRWD is looking forward to working with Motorola and the county in the next few weeks to make this project a success”
Morris added that Tusa Consulting Services is still representing the county. He says the company’s partnership with the county will ensure the project is completed in a timely fashion.
Back in August, the supervisors also accepted the EMA commission’s recommendation for a one-time only purchase of radios for all county entities–at a maximum cost of $462,000–for the purpose of making them operational at the time the system goes live in August, 2018.