Tuesday, January 22, 2013
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Police, fire, sewer and fiber optic included in workshop discussions

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[January 22, 2013]  At last week's Lincoln City Council committee of the whole workshop session, several items were discussed. In addition to talking extensively about the Oglesby Avenue bridge project and the five-year capital improvement plan, other items of business included new radios for the police department and selling old equipment at the fire department.

Police department needs new portable radios

Police Chief Ken Greenslate told the council that the city police department is in need of 18 new hand-held radios at a cost of $12,850.

Greenslate said the department owns and regularly uses 28 such radios. Last year Dan Fulscher of the Logan County Emergency Management Agency had assisted the city in obtaining 10 new radios through a grant, but there are still 18 that need to be replaced.

The price of $12,850 is coming from Lincoln Land Communications, and Greenslate said they were the best radios at the best price. The new radios will be Kenwood models and are made to work with the new narrow-band transmitters that are now required by the federal government.

Greenslate said he was aware that there is still money in the general obligation bond for capital purchases, and he was wondering if the radios could be purchased using those funds.

Greenslate was asked what was wrong with the radios the department has now, and he replied that they are all older models. He said the average lifespan of a hand-held radio is seven years and these are that old. He said the radios get rough treatment because the officers wear them when they get out of their vehicles, so they are subject to the weather elements as well as bumps and bangs throughout their lifetime. He also commented that because they are not the new narrow-band technology, they don't work as well as they could.

Jonie Tibbs commented on this, saying that she listens to her home scanner often and has many times heard officers saying they cannot hear or understand the dispatchers.

Snyder asked about specific issues on this, and Greenslate said they have a lot of trouble hearing and transmitting in the areas of the high school, the hospital and about anywhere there are brick and steel buildings.

Tom O'Donohue asked if the radios had to be bought right now. He wondered if they couldn't wait until after the new fiscal year, for the sake of the budget.

Greenslate said he was looking at the fact there are funds available in the general obligation bond, but O'Donohue said he was not in favor of spending that money, ever, and still wondered if it couldn't wait.

Greenslate told the council that the radios can be worked on, but right now, with more than three months left in the fiscal year, he is over budget on radio repairs. He punctuated the need for the new radios by saying: "You need to understand, these radios are my officers' lifeline."

Greenslate was asked if the new radios he wants would be as good as the radios used by the sheriff's department, and he said they would.

Jeff Hoinacki said he was in favor of buying the new radios. He said that to continue repairing the old ones was just throwing money at old equipment. As the committee chairman for the police department, Hoinacki asked that this be placed on the next voting agenda.

Finance chair Melody Anderson asked if the motion would be to use the general obligation bond, and that was confirmed.

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City may sell old siren and other fire news

Tuesday evening fire Chief Mark Miller was absent for the evening, but Alderwoman Kathy Horn, who chairs the fire committee, relayed messages from the chief to the rest of the council.

Horn said Miller has heard from a party interested in purchasing the old City Hall siren and control box. The buyer will dismantle the siren and take it away if the city decides to sell it.

City attorney Blinn Bates was asked what the process would be, and he replied that an ordinance to dispose of excess property would have to be written and passed.

Mayor Keith Snyder said in that case, all the department heads should look to see if they, too, have excess property that could be disposed of. If so, it can all be combined into one ordinance.

Horn also said Miller is currently working on applications for two grants. One would provide the department with $10,000, and another is a FEMA grant for $30,000.

She said one of the assistant chiefs had an off-duty fall and would be off work for probably six weeks.

Horn also asked that an appointment of Phil Uphoff as fire inspector be placed on the agenda for next week. She said that inspector Bret Tripplett has stepped down from that position, so a replacement is needed.

City permit needed for fiber optic installation

Included in consent agenda items for next week would be a motion to approve permits for the installation of fiber optic line from Keokuk Street to sites on the Lincoln College campus. The council was told the installation would include approximately 800 feet of line. To do this, the installers need to have a utility permit, file a performance bond with the city and provide proof of insurance.

EMC will appoint a new waste treatment manager

Alderwoman Marty Neitzel told the council that Darrell Palmer, who has been serving as the waste treatment manager for the city of Lincoln, has left. Neitzel said she had spoken with regional manager David Kitzmiller, and he said that he would have a replacement for Palmer within a week.

This week the council will meet on Tuesday night for their voting session, due to the Monday holiday.


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