A consultant working with the Fayette County 911 Board left Monday’s Board of Supervisors meeting tasked with research projects, including detailing the communications equipment needs of all emergency departments in the county.
The supervisors had scheduled a discussion with Sheriff Marty Fisher and a representative of the 911 Board regarding bonding for the E911 project. The financing tool did not come up.
Fisher tried to impress on the supervisors the importance of upgrading the county’s emergency communications system. He told of a deputy over the weekend that responded to a domestic abuse call in the northeast of the county. A man at the scene fought with the deputy, who could not use his radio to report his situation to the dispatch center because it was out of range.
The deputy fumbled with his cell phone to make a 911 call to reach dispatch, according to Fisher, who added the deputy was able to resolve the situation before help arrived.
From there, most of the meeting was a discussion between a consultant working with the Fayette County 911 Board, and the supervisors. Michael McGrady, chief executive officer of MCM Consulting Group, talked about communication towers and their infrastructure, realistic expectations of area coverage, cooperating with neighboring counties, limitations of cell phones in emergency situations, possible funding options and the benefits of the proposed digital system over the existing analogue system.
He also asked the supervisors what he could do to help them with their decision about the communications system, to which the supervisors sought a detailed breakdown of the proposal’s components and the equipment needs of emergency departments so they could share the cost with the county.
In other action, the supervisors:
• approved abating taxes on property acquired by Grace United Methodist Church in Oelwein
• Granted permission to the West Union Chamber of Commerce to use the courthouse parking lot and lawn for the West Union Block Party on Oct. 9. Matthew Marsala, chamber representative, said the event is planned for 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
• Approved of a contract modification with Iowa Planes Signing for pavement striping. County Engineer Joel Fantz told the supervisors that a nationwide paint shortage linked to the massive power outage earlier this year in Texas has made extending the contract necessary.
When the power grid in Texas failed, it affected a resin plant, which in turn has contributed to the paint shortage. Because of that pavement striping in the county has been prioritized by safety need, and the contract modification gives company more time as paint becomes available.
• Approved a 28E agreement between Iowa Department of Natural Resourses and Fayette County