It only took a few minutes for the Polk County Water Authority board to agree to a sensible plan put forth to help put in place another piece of the plan for new radio upgrades for public safety officials.
The unanimous vote by the board came just a few minutes into a special called session on November 22 to approve an intergovernmental agreement between the county government and the water authority to use part of their Taylorsville Road site as a site for one of at least two new towers that will need to be erected to complete the upgrade.
Board members were happy with the terms of the new agreement and PCWA General Manager Jack Damron also stated that no money will change hand between the county and the water authority in the deal.
PCWA board attorney Vickie Atkins also explained a clause that allows the county a calendar year to move the site should any issues arise where it would need to be relocated.
Damron said he called the EPD first thing when the idea came forth and made sure that it wouldn’t cause any issues, and was assured that so long as the tower would not interfere with water operations, there were no problems with the tower and equipment being located at the Taylorsville Road site.
“This is something in my view that we really want to support,” Damron said. “It’ll help with emergency traffic when something serious comes up.”
He explained the footprint of the tower and a small 20-by-30 foot building will not make much impact on the site on Taylorsville Road. There’s no timetable yet in place for construction, since as Damron added there’s no official deal in place between the County and Motorola for the system upgrade yet approved.
“This is a piece that they need in place to move forward,” Damron said.
Board chair Ken Woods added his support for the intergovernmental agreement for the tower site ahead of the vote.
“I feel that the amended agreement is favorable,” Woods said. “It allows us to be neighborly, but also cover any liabilities.”
Board members Shemetrice Matthews and Todd Tillery also added their voices of appreciation for several clauses in the agreement that work favorably for the Water Authority, and their support of Public Safety.
The new APCO (Association of Public-Safety Communications Officials) standard P25 mission critical public safety communications system is slated to cost a total of $6.8 million if approved by the county, which will include a final price that provides municipalities, the Polk School District’s Police Department, and others who require the use of the new digital radio system handheld radios that can be used countywide.
The county will also be required to spend another $3 million on maintenance costs over 10 years, with slight increases each year to cover replacement, upgrades and repairs to the system.
The site on Taylorsville Road is one of several that Motorola scouted ahead of time, and Water Authority officials have studied the issue to make sure that radio equipment doesn’t also interfere with their own monitoring systems on the site.
The intergovernmental agreement was the only item on the water authority’s agenda for the special called session, and after only 8 minutes on a Friday evening called the meeting to a close.