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  • Last modified 2251 days ago (July 26, 2012)

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Tower problem could get costly

Staff writer

Marion County Commission went over options Monday in case that the Marion City Council decided to overturn the city administrator’s decision about a radio tower.

Emergency Management Director Dan D’Albini presented two alternatives to the commission.

The first was a monopole tower to be installed at the previously discussed location next to the new jail building. The second was to build a tower at the county’s south shop area.

Both options left commissioners’ wincing at high expenses. Converting the plan to a monopole with TBS Communication Inc. would increase the cost of the project from $41,000 to $71,000. The second option would require a 400-foot tower instead of 92-foot tower because of a land elevation difference and a line of sight issue, D’Albini said. Such a tower alone would cost about $400,000; the project total could exceed $1 million dollars.

Commissioner Randy Dallke suggested the county cable communications from the existing antennae on the old jail until the issue with a tower could be resolved. Some county departments were moving equipment and supplies into the jail this past week.

Darvin Markley attended the meeting. He owns the land in Marion where the tower could fall. He suggested placing a repeater on top of the Cooperative Grain and Supply elevator in Marion and beaming the signal to existing towers so it could reach outlying cities such as Florence and Goessel. D’Albini said that option would not work because it would put a repeater in between the antennae at the jail and other repeaters. He said the signal would reflect back to the jail but would not solve the clarity problems experienced on radios throughout the county.

“It’s not going to be simple to go to another repeater,” D’Albini said.

Sue Markley later said that the county had not spoken with her or her husband at any point during the discussion.

“It’s an issue of public safety,” she said.

Commission Chairman Dan Holub was still ardent that the 92-foot tower was the best situation for the county.

“There’s got to be a tower in our system,” Holub said.

The tower was not the only jail-related point of contention between city and county discussed at the meeting. Drainage had been planned to flow north and east of the jail along property where the U.S. Post Office resides. Officials from the post office sent a letter to the county saying that they did not want it to be the site of drainage.

Commissioners and architect Andy Pitts decided to divert the drainage to the east along an easement provided by Markley.

It was originally thought that the city owned the land where the post office resides. The county had reached an agreement with the city for drainage.

Last modified July 26, 2012

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