Spending for simulcast paging approved

In a move that will enhance Lyon County’s emergency communication for at least the next decade, the Lyon County Board of Commissioners on Tuesday approved spending a total of $272,217.58 for a simulcast paging system upgrade.
The board originally had approved spending $263,000 on the system, but the final quote from West Central Communications came in at $265,869.58.
The overage is due to the need to move the radio antenna in Balaton to a higher location (the water tower) to complete a point-to-point connection within the system (between Balaton and Russell). There will also be a need to for a small housing unit at the base of the new antenna location in Balaton, which the City has agreed to construct.
“The current tower, or antenna is currently in a valley, and to make the connection work, there has to be a line-of-sight connection from the tower of Russell to shoot over to the tower in Balaton,” Lyon County Sheriff Eric Wallen said. “There’s topography in the way that is preventing that from happen.”
There will be a delay in getting the system up and running in Balaton, since the City is planning on painting its water tower in the near future. The County will not incur a charge for putting the antenna on the Balaton water tower.
Additionally, new batteries for generator units in Marshall, Balaton and Cottonwood will be purchased for $6,348; the life span of the batteries is about 10 years.
“If electricity goes out at a tower site, that tower becomes inoperable,” Wallen said. “If power goes out, say in Cottonwood, nothing’s going to come out of that tower. Our bigger sites — Marshall, Tracy, Russell and Minneota, they all have generators, so if power goes out, those will kick in. Cottonwood and Balaton have no generators.”
Wallen said Balaton does have a manual-start generator in its fire hall, but once the system is moved to the water tower, that generator will be obsolete when it comes to the paging system.
The board passed two separate motions Tuesday. Commissioner Steve Ritter motioned to approve the $6,438 for the batteries, with Commissioner Charlie Sanow offering a second. Commissioner Rick Anderson made a motion to approve spending $265,869.58 for the overall simulcast paging system, and Commissioner Gary Crowley seconded.
The system will likely be installed in the spring of 2023.

In other news from Tuesday…
• The board agreed to finance up to $65,000 in ARPA funds for North Memorial Ambulance for the purchase of four LUCAS devices. North is using its original LUCAS devices which were purchased in October 2014 and are in need to be replacement. A LUCAS device is a mechanical chest compression-decompression system.
Anderson made the motion, with Commissioner Charlie Sanow seconding.
• The board approved the hiring of Stacy Kampsen as a 911 dispatcher, with a starting rate of $21.02 and a start date on or around Oct. 7.
• The board gave its approval to fill the vacant Human Relations position and to advertise it internally and externally. Since this is a department head position, the County was required to get board approval to fill the vacancy.
• The board approved participation for the Lyon County Sheriff’s Office in the Minnesota First Responder AED project. The University of Minnesota has received a grant to provide law enfroemcent and other responders with AEDs to improve cardiac arrest survival. The Lyon County Sheriff’s Office is able to obtain up to 17 AEDs for its squad cars; currently, only four squads are equipped with AEDs. There will be no cost to the County.
• The board approved set the preliminary levy for 2023 at 4.305 percent; the proposed levy can go down before the levy is set in December, but it cannot be raised.
Lyon County Administrator Loren Stomberg said that number will likely change before the County’s levy is set.
“There might be a few little tweaks we can do yet in the General Fund,” he said. “4.3 is a number that I’m confident with as far as moving forward with the levy.”
“I’m very confident this number will go down,” Commissioner Rick Anderson said.
The 4.3 percent figure is what will appear on the Trutih-In-Taxation statements, which will be mailed out to county residents in November.

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