A few weeks ago I glanced at an article in one of the local papers about county officials being sworn in and their thoughts on issues. I noticed both of the new county supervisors and the re-elected county sheriff all brought up the radio system. I realize the supervisors are inheriting a problem from their predecessors here but why are we still talking about this? The system has had issues since it went live over three years ago yet so far nothing has been done to solve the problem. Given that part of it seems to be the result of corner-cutting by the county, had they just built it right the first time then maybe there would not have been an issue in the first place.

Rumor is the latest idea is to jump onto the State of Iowa’s new system when Motorola gets it built out in the area. This would necessitate replacing every radio in the county yet again as the current radios are incompatible with the state system. However based on what I’ve read, based on the specifications that will not solve the problem. The state system is being built to provide 95% mobile coverage. The requirement for the Boone County system was 98% however officials never stipulated if this were mobile or portable. (Portable would require more tower sites as portable radios have less range.) Even converting the existing Boone County sites to the state system, this would likely result in basically the same problems we currently face as the physics (and tower locations) don’t change.

There was talk of a property tax levy to pay for the new equipment, one city official was quoted as saying “the City of Madrid will oppose the levy if funds paid to RACOM Corporation for a non-working radio system are not recovered.” (Council minutes 1/3/17, fixed for spelling)

I’m no lawyer, but pretty sure the city & county have zero case here. The departments have been using the system for years, and I have a hard time seeing them being able to prove the coverage requirement was not met given how vaguely it was written.

Unfortunately it seems we keep spinning our wheels and not actually getting things fixed, since neither the County 911 Board, Boone County Board of Supervisors, or city councils seem to have the leadership to actually get things done.

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