• Last modified 2632 days ago (June 7, 2012)


County forgot about jail tower

Staff writer

With all of the architectural plans and with the jail about a month away from completion, the communications tower and antennas for Marion County Dispatchers was forgotten until Thursday.

“The ball just got dropped,” Marion County Emergency Management Director Dan D’Albini said. “A piece of equipment was overlooked. I’m just the messenger.”

That means the county could not use the revolving loan they have used toward jail construction on a tower. County Clerk Carol Maggard said the first payments on the loan have already been made.

Some of the expenses for the tower — cable and connections — could be paid for with 9-1-1 funds from the state, D’Albini said. D’Albini said that they could apply to the state to use those funds for the tower, but the grant does not explicitly say paying for a tower with 9-1-1 funds is an acceptable use. If the county applies for funding and is incorrect, a 10 percent fee will be assessed.

The tower and concrete work to install the tower would have to come out of funds accrued through sales tax collections.

D’Albini brought in multiple bids to Marion County Commission. The two primary companies were K-Com and TBS Electronics Inc. The bids ranged from $33,000 to $63,000. The low bid from K-Com was for an 80-foot tower, which D’Albini said would be barely tall enough to allow for communications to Florence and Peabody. K-Com also bid for a 100-foor tower, which D’Albini said may clear the sometimes garbled transmissions from Florence and Peabody.

However, the 100-foot tower may require a flashing warning light for aircraft where a tower under 100 feet would not. D’Albini recommended a 92-foot tower.

The major difference in price for the highest bid from TBS was that TBS would install the tower and the 13 by 13 foot concrete base. They would also provide a cabling combiner for the 13 antennas on the tower for $26,000.

“I can’t see $26,000 worth of an advantage,” D’Albini said.

The commission charged D’Albini with two tasks: talk to Marion city officials to find out zoning concerns and talk to Davey Hett about the cost of the concrete pad for the tower.

The commission then called Andy Pitts with Treanor Architects P.A. to discuss the best location of the tower. They decided against mounting the tower on the roof of the jail and instead having the tower be a free standing structure in the northeast or southeast corners of the property. D’Albini said the northeast corner was the most advantageous for running cable through the roof leading directly into the electrical room of the jail.

However, the northeast corner is home to a generator and parking. Commissioners suggested the other eastern corner although weaving the cables along the wall would cause a complication.

In other business:

  • Timothy Young was hired as a new jailer. He will be paid $10.25 an hour.
  • A new postage machine was approved for the treasurer’s office.
  • Brian Bina was named assistant county attorney, taking over for Keith Collett who accepted a position as a magistrate judge in Dickinson County. Bina will fill in for Susan Robson when she is unable to act as county attorney.

Last modified June 7, 2012