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Price tag for new county radio system about $2.2M

Kaitlyn Clay, Staff Writer, [email protected]

The Harrison County Council heard a request from Sheriff Nick Smith Monday evening on a large-scale issue that he, and other county officials, hope to mitigate soon.

Smith explained the radio system that many entities — the police department, fire departments, ambulance and other emergency services — use to communicate is operating on its last leg. He added that it is hard for them to find any replacement parts when something goes wrong, as it is such an old system. About 800 people in the county handle services and communicate via the radio system.

After much evaluation by a team of people representing various groups who utilize the radio system of a couple of options for a new system, ultimately, Smith shared they decided upon Electronic Communication Systems’ Kenwood Nexedge radio system.

In total, the project will cost about $2.2 million, but the payments will be broken up over time. About $775,000 will be due at the execution of the contract, another 50% — around $1 million — would be due once all equipment is in and programmed, and the final $332,000 would be due once the system is up and running and the county is satisfied with its performance.

Smith anticipated turnaround time, based on shipping times, could be about six months for the system to be up and running.

Smith also shared that they were working with the Harrison County Community Foundation to look into possible grant-funding options for portions of the project, but, based on their processes for grants, there may not be enough time to complete any funding before the project starts.

According to Julie Moorman, the CEO and president of the Foundation, an application would have to be received before they can allot any funding for this project. It was also stated that the Foundation won’t use grant dollars to reimburse for funds already spent on a project.

Derrick Grigsby, CFO of the Foundation, shared that the council shouldn’t expect any answers regarding grant funding for a couple of months as any application would have to be reviewed by multiple committees and the Foundation’s board before being approved.

Councilman Kyle Nix suggested the council could fund the full request for the radio system project and then potentially do a reduction of appropriations later on in the project time line based on if the Foundation is able to participate in funding or not.

Smith also requested an additional of $80,000 for the fuel line, due to the increase in gas prices.

Also at the meeting, Bob Woosley and Tom Tucker, representing the Harrison County Regional Sewer District, approached the council to request $250,000 for a replacement of an effluent force main, which will ultimately help in their expansion plans for the Berkshire wastewater treatment plant near New Salisbury.

Currently, the district is having to tell any future developers interested in hooking up to sewer lines in the area that they hope to have the capacity to handle future flows but, until they expand their plant, that is not possible for future endeavors at this time. The replacement of the force main would increase it from a current four-inch line to a six-inch line in order to keep up with development, according to Woosley.

The pair also explained to the council that they would prefer a grant for the funding, but they are willing to discuss the option of a loan that the district will repay over a set period of time. Woosley shared paperwork with the county that explained the district would be able to pay back the loan with capacity fee charges, which they will receive a minimum of $50,000 a year based on development projections.

The council will vote on Smith’s two requests, as well as the sewer district’s request, at its next meeting, which is scheduled for Monday, Nov. 22, at 7 p.m. at the government center in Corydon.

Additionals approved at the meeting included two requests from the highway department: $214,000 out of the cumulative bridge fund for contractual services and $1.6 million to be taken from the riverboat fund for the Lanesville connector-road project.

Moorman and Grigsby were both able to do a quarterly update in regard to the Harrison County Community Foundation for the council at the start of the meeting, sharing that Lanesville, Palmyra, New Middletown and Laconia have already started the process of creating their town plans with the town planning initiative Moorman has been working on.

Zach Stephens of Mainstream Fiber Networks also appeared with Moorman and Grigsby to discuss updates about broadband service work for the county.