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Meeker County approves purchase of vital radio link

LITCHFIELD -- Meeker County Commissioners approved the purchase of a microwave link for more than $175,000 that is a vital part of the county's law enforcement mobile radio system.

The county received only one bid for the equipment.

The current equipment was about 12 years old and was obsolete, said County Administrator Paul Virnig, and it needed to be replaced.

It will be installed on a new state tower that will cost about $500 a year to rent. The county currently pays about $9,000 a year for tower rental.

Meanwhile, the county still has not decided whether to join the state's 800-megahertz emergency radio system. The high cost of the system, and the lack of state grants for rural counties, is holding the county back from upgrading its equipment at this time, said Virnig.

"At some point we're going to have to make our mind up if we're going to go forward and if so, when," said Virnig.

The new microwave radio link was needed, no matter what future decision the County Board of Commissioners makes about the 800-megahertz system, he said.

In other action by the board this week:

- Representatives from Heartland Community Action Agency presented information about expanded programs in the county that are being offered because of federal stimulus funding.

- An agreement was signed with Dr. Jeff Ho, a physician at Hennepin County Medical Center and a part-time deputy sheriff in Meeker County, to train county dispatchers regarding medical information provided during 911 emergency calls.

- An agreement was signed for a new $200,000 low-interest loan program that will be available for county residents to access for upgrading septic systems.

- The commissioners approved a bid of $26,600 offered by an individual for the purchase of county property in Darwin.

- The commissioners agreed to once again apply for a $229,000 state grant to fund construction of cabins and a storm shelter at the Koronis Park.


Carolyn Lange

A reporter for 35 years, Carolyn Lange covers regional news with the West Central Tribune.

(320) 894-9750