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County Council approves E-911 upgrades, critical repairs to radio tower

web posted December 5, 2007
EDGEFIELD – The Edgefield County Council held their last meeting of the year Tuesday night with a full agenda, including the announcement of Trantec as the recipient of a fee in lieu of taxes agreement that was a closely guarded secret. However, the two main issued faced by the county council was in relation to E911 and a “critical situation” with the north radio tower for emergency services operations.

The first to address council was Edgefield County E-911 Coordinator Fran Forrest explaining that the county’s E-911 technology was due for an upgrade. “We are required to upgrade the system every five years,” Forrest explained. The cost of the upgrades would amount to an estimated $145,922, of which a little over $98,000 would be reimbursed by the state leaving roughly $47,000 left to be paid by the county’s E911 funds.

The one-dollar fee imposed on all telephones in the county is kept by the county to pay for upgrades and maintenance of the county E-911 equipment. Currently the county holds just over $249,000 in fees collected over the years. Elaine Kemp, of AT&T who will be assisting in the upgrades, explained that the new technology would improve dispatchers ability to map calls and increase their reporting capabilities.

The county council approved the expenditures for the upgrades.

EMA Director Mike Casey was before the council once again this month following up and the council’s previous request for bids to repair a “critical situation” at the county’s north radio tower used by law enforcement, fire, EMS, and county operations. Mr. Casey explained that he was able to receive only one bid for repairs at the tower site and that most companies asked to bid on the project refused to even climb the tower. “An icing event or strong winds could bring the tower down,” in its current condition Casey warned.

Mr. Casey said the only bid received for the repairs was submitted by a John Riley, who constructed the tower originally, and totaled just under $8,100. Mr. Casey asked for some “wiggle room” to fund any additional problems encountered during the repairs. The county council approved a maximum of $10,000 for the repairs. Mr. Casey also warned the council that the tower had outlived its expected lifetime of service of twenty years by seven years. “This should buy us another twenty-four months,” Mr. Casey said adding that a new tower was “inevitable”.

Mr. Casey suggested the council begin setting funding aside to pay for a new tower in the near future so the estimated $150,000 would not come as a surprise. It was also suggested the new tower be relocated to a site at the EMS station on Star Road in Edgefield.

Administrator Pettigrew reported that the Edgefield County EMS received two grants recently, one to provide for a “auto-pulse” CPR machine for one of the ambulances that would provide CPR services letting the EMT or Paramedic provide other care to a patient suffering from a heart attack. The second grant provides for an AED (defribulator) at the county court house and for up to ten people to be trained on its use.

In other business the county council approved second readings on ordinances providing for; a supplement to the Code of Ordinances, the fee in lieu of taxes for Trantec, and the Nuisance Ordinance.

Also approved was a change for the date of the January meeting from January 1 to January 8, approval of the county’s holiday schedule to coincide with the state approved holidays, and the intergovernmental meeting hosted on January 31.

Chairman Kneece also stated the state was providing an additional $21,297 in Park and Recreation (PARD) funding and the council voted to distribute the additional funds by the present formula to outlying areas of the county.

The council also approved a $1,000 request by County VA Officer John Rikard for the state office hosting the national convention this year.

Before ending the meeting Chairman Kneece stated the council would be meeting in executive session to discuss a “contractual matter” and no decision would be coming when they returned to public session, virtually ending the meeting.

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