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Tama County Supervisors By John Speer Central Iowa Press

November 15, 2018
Northern-Sun Print
Radio communications system needs were back before the Tama County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday, Nov. 13 on the heels of a report from Emergency Management - E911 Director Mindy Benson made two weeks ago. “Our communications system is failing at an alarming rate,” Benson told supervisors on Oct. 29. She said a new system had ben put off “for years and years and years” in presenting studies by radio system provider Raycom of Marshalltown. The company’s estimates ranged from anywhere from $4.9 million to $7.2 million depending upon the number of towers and related costs. On Tuesday, Ann Roth, a communications consultant for Electronic Engineering, Des Moines, outlined a Motorola Radio-based plan in connection with the Iowa Statewide Interoperable Communications System (ISICS) for the board. The system is currently being implemented across the state with about 30 counties, the Iowa State Patrol, National Guard, U.S. Marshal’s Service and Drug Enforcement Agency among participants, she said. A state-wide network of 90 towers is being developed to serve the system with a total of $54 million in taxpayer-funded directed at the project Roth said. Upon completion, a range of ability for users to communicate over a wider area and with other entities is the aim of the initiative, Roth said. She also said it has been assured another round of “narrow-banding” ordered by the Federal Communication Commission will not apply to ISICS according to Roth. Sheriff Dennis Kucera asked if the radios, particularly hand-held models, would be operable for communication from northern portions of the county, using the town of Lincoln as a location for example. Roth said her firm, through Motorola, provides tests radios for agencies to make their own determination if the system will meet their needs. No costs estimates were provided by Roth on Tuesday. Bidding During the Oct. 29 meeting supervisors recommended the E911 Board look to bidding for any replacement system. Benson said radio communication is mandated and bidding is not actually require.d The Tama County Dispatch Center in the Tama County Courthouse in Toledo handles calls for the Tama County Sheriff’s Office, Tama, Toledo, Dysart and Meskwaki Nation Tribal Police forces; fire departments in Tama, Toledo, Chelsea, Montour,Vining, Elberon, Garwin, Clutier, Traer, Dysart, Gladbrook and Lincoln; ambulance services in Tama, Toledo, Garwin, Elberon, Gladbrook, Traer and Dysart; and first responders at Montour, the Meskwaki Settlement, and Clutier. In other business Tuesday the supervisors: •approved utility permit for Windstream for work in Crystal Township in the area of the U.S. Highway 63 - Iowa Highway 96 junction. •approved claims totaling $264,194.

Article Photos

Communications consultant Ann Roth demostatres the capability of a hand-hled radio during a presentation to the Tama Coutny Board of Supervisors on Tuesday, Nov. 13. The county radio system is in need of replacement according to Emergnecy
Management and E911 Director Mindy Benson.
News-Herald/John Speer



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