By Roz Kohls
DASSEL, MN Meeker County Board of Commissioners has been waiting for a year for the State of Minnesota to commit and move forward with the development of the Dassel radio tower site.
The Dassel tower site, located just south of the intersection of Highways 15 and 12, is not only important to Meeker County’s radio communication, but also to Wright County, the state, and metro area, Meeker County Chief Deputy Jeff Norlin told the county board Tuesday.
County Board Chairman Ron Kutzke sent a letter Tuesday to the Minnesota Statewide Radio Board detailing how the county board approved a resolution Sept. 18, 2007, and stating that the county wanted to participate in the statewide ARMER Project. The project will make all the radio communication for every county, city, fire department, emergency response team, and law enforcement agency on the same system, so each unit in the system can communicate with every other unit.
Mike Hogan of MnDOT has been developing the radio tower plans for the Beckville site, south of Litchfield.
“There has been little communication between the state and the county regarding a site at Dassel,” according to the letter Kutzke sent to the state radio board.
In 2007, the county contracted with GeoComm Corporation through a joint powers agreement with the Central Minnesota Radio Board and funded by the State of Minnesota ARMER office. GeoComm made a study of the county’s radio system and determined it needed an upgrade and replacement.
Also, the Federal Communications Commission mandated the transition of all land mobile radio communication systems in the VHF and UHF radio frequency bands from a wide band mode to a narrow band mode by 2013, according to the resolution the board made in 2007.
County Commissioner Jim Swenson, who was chairman of the board then, sent a letter asking the state department of public safety to provide guidance and assistance in applying for grants.
As of Tuesday, the county is still waiting for a response from the state about developing the Dassel site.
Odds and ends
In other business, the board:
• hired Tracey Madsen as a registered nurse for the public health department, and Larry Jones as a part-time maintenance worker.
• approved a joint application with Buffalo Creek Watershed for a drainage records modernization grant of $30,000 through the Mid-Minnesota Development Corporation.
• closed the board meeting to the public, according to attorney-client privilege, to discuss the Gail Simpson vs Meeker County lawsuit about unwarranted strip searches of inmates.