Updated: Jan 20
MOUND CITY – Linn County Commissioner Jim Johnson questioned funds taken out of the 911 Tax fund to pay for a recording device at the new Linn County Justice Center on Monday, Dec. 27.
Johnson asked County Counselor Gary Thompson what the county’s policy was on using that money.
Thompson told him that 911 money was a separate fund and that the county has a policy in place since 2017 that the Public Safety Answering Point (PSAP) manager was responsible for managing all financial matters related to the 911 system based upon that.
Linn County Sheriff Kevin Friend is the PSAP manager.
Chris Martin, county information technology director, said that the product that Johnson was questioning was the recording system for the 911 system at the new justice center.
Currently there is a recorder at the old building, but it will not work for the new justice center. It does not connect with the radios properly, and it will not add more channels to pick up the additional load of the justice center, the phones, and the 911 system.
Martin said that he had gone out looking for a product that would fit the best. He evaluated three different products and ultimately landed with this company out of Wichita that makes a recorder he called, “very robust, very popular.”
Martin said he was able to negotiate a sizable discount on the new system based on trading in of the existing system. The original price was $70,000 and Martin said he was able to get it for less than $40,000.
Commission Chair Rick James asked if the county was anticipating using the old system during the designing process for the justice center.
Martin said that was not anticipated and the plan was to replace it.
Commissioner Jim Johnson said that he would like to see that the commission is informed about things like this before it is purchased.
James told Martin that if there is another office that wants to purchase something in the future, it would be better for Martin to explain to the commission what is being purchased. He said it would make it easier for the commissioners, and would let the public know why something is being purchased and where the funds are coming from.
Johnson asked if there was any way, on this type of equipment, that he could get three bids.
Martin said that on this particular one, no one else came close to the price. He said he went to the county’s radio vendor and asked for a list of vendors that would be compatible and this company was the only one that was reasonably priced and viable with the county’s system.
The commissioners approved the purchase which was in the claims for this week.