By Forrest Hershberger
Sidney Sun-Telegraph 

Communication Center to Install New Tower

 

March 20, 2019



The Cheyenne County Communications Center needs to expand its territory, electronically. To do so, the Communications Center is planning to have a second radio tower constructed adjacent to the current tower.

“It has been at capacity for a while,” Communicators Director Heidi Gillespie said Monday afternoon.

She said the need was made known when companies she worked with while assessing how to include Deuel County dispatching services into Cheyenne County’s system noted there was “almost no real estate” left on the existing tower, Gillespie said. She said she was advised to make a plan to update the system.

She applied for and was awarded an Homeland Security grant to fund a new radio tower.

“I wanted to secure the grant before I went to the commissioners,” she said Monday afternoon. 

She stressed the new tower will not replace the existing tower. The new tower will be located near the existing tower, but will be based on the ground, with a concrete foundation.

Monday morning, she met with the commissioners to discuss placement of the new radio tower. She presented two bids. One came in at $15,750 and the second at $12,500 plus the cost of the cement work.

“My grant is for $13,000,” she said.

Gillespie added that if necessary, she has the funds in her budget to finance the balance.

She said the Federal Emergency Management Administration (FEMA) gives each state funds to be disbursed as grant funding. She said the State of Nebraska sets the process on how the funds are awarded.

Monday morning the commissioners approved installation of a new tower with a 3-0 vote. Gillespie told the commissioners the new tower will be no taller than the existing tower.

The commissioners also met with county treasurer Shelley Bowlin. Bowlin reported 360 parcels advertised for the tax sale and 37 registered bidders. She also presented her Pledged Securities Report.

AFLAC insurance representative Jennifer Powell met with the commissioners regarding options the company offers and dental and vision insurance. She asked if the county could share with her the gender and birth dates of county employees. She stressed she does not want employee names. She said the information would be used to meet with local dentists to seek a better group rate. The commissioners, county attorney Paul Schaub and County Clerk Beth Fiegenschuh questioned if they can legally share an employee’s birth date. They discussed options including groups of ages such as 15 employees ages 30 to 35 and so on, or a birth year instead of the full birthdate. Powell said there might be some variance in the rate with only the year. A person might pass his or her birthday before the end of the year.


She added that AFLAC has a program where the county could offer a specific coverage for employees for one year at no cost to the county or the employees. For the county to be eligible, at least 75 percent of the county’s employees must meet with with Powell. She said the program is currently continuing into the second year, with a different offering.


 

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