Archive for Thursday, June 5, 2008

Leavenworth County radio upgrade to cost $12.4 million

June 5, 2008

Leavenworth County commissioners have placed a final figure on the cost of a planned countywide communications upgrade: $12.405 million.

Commissioners on Thursday approved the amount and forwarded it Friday to the Kansas Department of Transportation so financing on the state level could be initiated for the project.

The communications upgrade, which will allow direct communication between all emergency service providers throughout the county and with neighboring cities, is to be financed through a state bond administered by KDOT, with payments coming from the county in the form of a lease-purchase agreement. The funds ultimately will be reimbursed out of the 1-cent voter-approved county sales tax.

County counselor David Van Parys, county administrator Heather Morgan, emergency management director Chuck Magaha and Tom Lynch, the county's consultant for the project, met with the board Thursday. Van Parys told commissioners the $12.4 million price tag was a greatly reduced figure from a $23 million proposal that was brought before the board in April 2007 by representatives with Motorola, the communications provider for the entire project.

Van Parys said that after an "exhaustive review process" from county staff, "You (the county) are not paying more money, but you're getting a much better system."

The entire upgrade includes the purchase of a new, digital "microwave" equipment that will replace the more than 30-year-old analog system on seven communications towers in the area as well as new radios and dispatch equipment for local law enforcement, fire protection, emergency medical services, hospitals and other emergency service providers countywide.

In other business Thursday, the board:

¢ Voted, 3-0, to proceed with condemnation hearings for three affected properties near County Bridge E-45, which connects County Road 13 north of Easton, and is scheduled for replacement using up to $799,000 in federal grant funding.

Property owner Eric McMillin asked commissioners to fund a redesign of the bridge that would lead to less destruction of old-growth trees in the area, less farmland taken from his neighbors and less devaluation of his property.

First District Commissioner J.C. Tellefson said any redesign might have consequences. "We run a significant risk of jeopardizing federal funding if we redesign."

Van Parys added that designs for the bridge could be negotiated as eminent domain hearings progress.

¢ Discussed implementing a wellness program for county employees, although no action was taken.

¢ Denied, 2-0, with Commissioner Dean Oroke abstaining, a request from Bob Conley, developer of Rocking C Equestrian Estates south of Evans Road and 253rd Street, to waive approximately $47,000 in improvements to Evans Road.

¢ Approved, 3-0, purchase of a 12-passenger van for the Sheriff's Office from Danny Zeck Ford at approximately $22,200 after depreciation.

¢ Approved, 3-0, purchase of five large-diameter aluminized culverts from Salina-based Welborn Sales Inc. at $21,400.

¢ Approved, 3-0, a 10-year special use permit for an overhead door business submitted by David and Cynthia Cleavinger, 17770 Michaels Road.

¢ Approved, 3-0, a special-use permit for an ornamental iron shop owned by Hubert and Barbara Lamprecht at 19050 Green Rd.

¢ Approved, 2-1, with Tellefson opposed, a special-use permit for auto sales at 17124 Morning Deer Road.

¢ Met in three separate executive sessions totaling 1 hour and 22 minutes to discuss personnel.

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