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Tama Co. Supervisors By John Speer CIP

January 24, 2019
Northern-Sun Print
“It’s vital, (the system) is failing at an alarming rate,” Tama County Emergency Management and E911 Coordinator Mindy Benson said Monday in continuing her support for a replacement county radio system to be purchased and installed by Marshalltown company RACOM. Her plea was met by calls for a bond issue to be decided by voters and solicitation for bids for the proposed county law enforcement and emergency radios and equipment during a public hearing on the matter before the Board of Supervisors on Monday morning, Jan. 21. Some 20 residents and city, county and Meskwaki officials were on hand for the hearing. Cost, under the RACOM proposal, is not to exceed $6.75 million. The Board of Supervisors has the final say and, if approved, must commit to the issuance of up to that $6.75 million amount in General Obligation bonds to pay the bill. Following the hearing he board chose to table any decision until their regular meeting on Monday, Feb. 4 at 10 a.m. “This has been ramrodded through,” Adam Todd, rural Tama farmer and pastor of the Solid Rock Bible Church, said in opening his objection to the proposal. He went on to charge “We’ve been mugged by thugs” in objecting to the lack of competing bids being sought and “no professional analysis.” Roger Wacha Jr., a rural Toledo farmer, raised questions about the cost burden being shouldered by property tax which falls primarily to land owners. He said the radios, as proposed, could cost him over $1,300 yearly for the length of term of the bonds and also questioned why the bidding process had not been employed. It was also questioned if the Meskwaki Settlement would be paying a share of the cost because there is on property tax collected on Settlement land and properties. Benson said there already was agreement to the added cost and the Tribal Council currently pays $67,000 annually for county dispatching services. She also said the E911 and Emergency Management has about $700,000 available to pay part of the cost. The county E911 Board has authorized purchase of the system from RACOM. Because it is a mandated service as essential, bidding is not required Benson has said previously. She has also maintained the alternative, the state-wide service offered by Motorola, does not provide for paging of fire departments and ambulance services. Benson also said to bid the service would require hiring a consultant at a cost ranging from $50,000 - $100,000. Tama County Sheriff Dennis Kucera and Benson also pointed to the ability of state communications to “take over” the system in the event of an emergency situation leaving Tama County without service. Kucera said the concern of his department remains being able to contact dispatch in emergency situations from areas of the county which do not currently allow good communications. Dan Pehl, Motorola Solutions representative, disputed some of the information and asked for his company to be “allowed to give na additional bid.” A cost breakdown of the RACOM proposal includes: Cost Breakdown- system infrastructure $2,670,875 radio $1,108,526; paging system and pagers $414,951and towers and sites $2,392,820 -all to be county-owned. In other business Monday the supervisors: •approved Treasurer Michelle Yuska’s semi-annual report showing a total of $17,730,916 on deposit in banks including $8,068,013 in money markets in the Lincoln Savings Bank, $2 million in certificates of deposit in the Iowa Public Agency Investment Trust, $1,697,356 in checking account in The State Bank of Toledo, $1,602,932 in a Tama County Health Insurance money market and $478,658 in E911 savings account. •approved weekly claims totaling $ 318,037 which included two dump truck purchases for County Roads Department at a cost of $114,357 each.


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