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  • Writer's pictureRoger Sims

Technology director discusses upgrading fire radios to digital


MOUND CITY – Information Technology (IT) Director Chris Martin met with the Linn County Commissioners on Monday, March 27, to discuss upgrading the county’s fire radios from analog to digital.


In a previous meeting, Martin had asked the commissioners if they wanted to go ahead and update all of the fire department radios. Martin, at that time, had expressed concern that the cities that had their own fire departments might not have it in their budgets this year to purchase the new radios to go along with the update. Those cities are Linn Valley, La Cygne, and Pleasanton.


Martin questioned whether the county might help with the cost until the cities could pay for the radios. He said that when they did the update for law enforcement several years ago, the cities had a long lead up time to plan for the costs in their budgets.


Commissioner Jim Johnson said he thought the cities should pay for their own radios but maybe an agreement about them paying back the county could be drawn up.


Martin said this might be a moot point because the cities may have the money but he wanted to make sure that it did not cause any issues.


Fire Chief Randy Hegwald told the commissioners that some of the fire department’s radios were getting close to needing to be replaced. If he bought the radios that fit the current system now, new radios would have to purchased for the new system.


He said that getting the cities connected with the project was going to be a small cost of the overall project, but that it would be very beneficial.


On Monday, the commissioners gave the go ahead for Martin to visit with those cities and see what they could afford and then proceed with getting costs for the update and bring the information back in two weeks.


According to Martin, the towers for the update already exist in the four corners of the county thanks to the sheriff’s office radio update several years ago. Listening repeaters will have to be placed on those towers to pick up the new digital mobile and handheld radio communication.


Martin said that he felt the project was very important for the fire department whose firefighters worked in all areas of the county inside of houses and in basements and other difficult areas. With the new system, their handhelds will be able to communicate.

In other business, the commissioners:

• Approved a resolution to put a stop sign at the southeast corner of the intersections 1800 Road and Yancy.


• Approved a burial permit extension for one approved last September for Evergy to put in fiber optic cable from Louisburg to the power plant. The fee for the extension was waived. Evergy had paid a burial fee of $2,100 last September. Permits are usually for six months but because Evergy is having a hard time getting approval from a railroad, the commissioners extended the permit until June 2023.


• Approved a burial permit for LanTel Communications burying fiber optic for Evergy from Centerville to Wolf Creek Power Plant. The fee will be $11,850.


• Approved advertising dust control at $2.04 per foot. Assistant Public Works Director Jessica Hightower had updated the commission on the increased price for the county. She told them the price just for the chemical had gone up from $1.70 per foot. She told the commissioners the county had applied dust control to 14,600 feet last year.


• Learned from Jessica Hightower that she and Rural Housing Champion Darcy Wilson will be going to Topeka on Wednesday to meet with the Lieutenant Governor David Toland and other Rural Housing Champions.


• Approved a required logo for the Rural Housing Champions program.


• Approved the 2023 Noxious Weed Management Program.


• Learned from Planning and Zoning Director Darin Wilson that the county’s cost of the abatement at Sugar Valley Lakes was $594.

• Approved giving two 20-foot sections of used guardrail to Warren Higginbotham of the Holmes Cemetery Board for the entryway at the cemetery.

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