The Starke County Commissioners at their meeting this week declared a local communication emergency in response to the radio communication issues caused by the crippled Starke County Sheriff’s Department radio tower. EMA Director Ted Bombagetti approached the commissioners and explained that before any radio system can be modified, the county must have it approved by the FCC.
To that end, Bombagetti explained to them the process to declare a local communication emergency, which would give the county the authority to do what needs to be done to restore full radio communications while getting the FCC licensing caught up at a later time. County Attorney Martin Lucas reviewed the information and gave it his approval.
The commissioners approved a motion to sign the declaration of a local communication emergency, which will remain in effect for 14 days and can be renewed at their next meeting.
Meanwhile, IT Director Joe Short approached the commissioners with a proposal to reprogram and relocate the Koontz Lake antenna to a location in Hamlet. The antenna would also be raised up via a mast to get a better signal with the county, and he said the cost would not exceed $14,000.
The commissioners approved a motion to proceed with the procedure at a cost of no more than $14,000, and Short said he’s confident that this will fix the majority of issues with the radio communications that have been plaguing the county since the storms in June and July. The money will come from the insurance funds that had been provided to the county due to the storms, which total $75,000.