The Whitfield County Board of Commissioners recently voted 3-0 to approve a three-year, $817,964.53 service agreement with Motorola for the county’s three towers of emergency communications.
Commissioner Robby Staten was absent, and CEO Jevin Jensen normally votes only in the event of a tie.
“It’s expensive, but at least our (first responders) can talk to each other,” Commissioner Greg Jones said.
Jensen said if one of the towers goes down there is no support. The current service contract expires on December 31st.
Jensen said the county staff thinks they might have “some small ideas or ways to save some money” and will look at them.
But the commissioners weren’t happy about the expense.
When the towers were installed five years ago, the towers had a five-year warranty. That expired, and in August the commissioners approved an extension through the end of the year to give the county time to negotiate a long-term agreement.
At the commissioners’ meeting in August, officials from the emergency management agency and the county fire department warned that without the service agreement, first responders would have no communications if something happened to their equipment.
The commissioners agreed at that meeting that the feedback they have received from firefighters and law enforcement officials on the system has been very positive and they see it as a significant improvement over the 25-year-old system it replaced.
The Commissioners also voted 3-0 for:
• Accept an offer of $41,852.60 from Ten-8 Fire and Safety of Bradenton, Fla. for upgrades and repairs to the County Emergency Management Agency’s (EMA) Mobile Command Vehicle.
Jensen noted that the county had budgeted $50,000 for the project and thanked EMA for finding a bid on budget. He said he thought it was a reasonable price to add a few more years to the life of the truck. He said it would cost $1.5 million to replace the truck.
• Use $136,545.60 of the $20.3 million in federal funds from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) the district received to purchase surveillance cameras and a restraint system (panic buttons) for the recently renovated portion of the courthouse.
• Agreeing to a $55,000 agreement with Lance Steel to prune and remove trees at Carbondale Business Park.
• Approved an agreement to administer a $239,582 ARPA grant from the Judicial Council of Georgia to the Conasauga Judicial Circuit (Whitfield and Murray counties). The purpose of the grant is to reduce the backlog of cases, particularly in the case of serious crime. The award covers various costs, such as senior judges, jury costs and a new investigator for the prosecution.
The commissioners heard the first reading of a proposed amendment to the Borough Subdivision Ordinance that would, among other things, require the developer to certify that all properties in the subdivision are “designed with a sufficient frontage to permit satisfactory entry and exit” and that ” Driveway Placement on a specific site or property must meet the visibility requirements set out in the currently adopted version of the Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT) regulations for driveway and intrusion control and a second permit prior to construction of the Whitfield County engineer. “
They also heard the first reading of a proposed amendment to the county’s site design ordinance that would, among other things, require that “a commercial driveway may not lie on a short vertical curve or on a sharp horizontal curve.” All commercial driveways should be designed and constructed to provide adequate visibility for motorists along the road in both directions.
The commissioners named Steven Bratton as the sole finalist for superintendent of roads and highways. Bratton, a former rights-of-way manager for the borough, has served as interim superintendent for the past four months since the resignation of public works director DeWayne Hunt. The title of the post has been changed as the position now reports to the district engineer and no longer to the district administrator.
Commissioners agreed to hold public working sessions on the 2023 budget on Tuesday 29 November and Wednesday 30 November. Jensen said the working sessions will likely be held at the district offices in the Wells Fargo building. He said they will last about two and a half to three hours, so they will probably start at 5 p.m