Lake County Emergency Management Director Kody Keefer received authorization from the Lake County Commission on Tuesday morning to apply for three Homeland Security grants.
If the state Office of Emergency Management determines the applications meet the criteria for current initiatives, a regional committee will consider the applications along with others submitted in the area to determine which will be funded.
"If they give it the green light, we're good to go. We've got it," Keefer said.
The first application will seek funding to replace the repeater near Ramona, which extends the range for radio communication between dispatch and emergency responders. Keefer reported there have been issues lately when dispatch attempts to communicate with law enforcement and ambulance crews in that area.
"Right now, we don't know what's going on," he said.
While it may be possible to repair the existing repeater, it is equally possible the repeater may need to be replaced. Keefer did not have a quote for this project, but estimated it could cost between $10,000 and $20,000.
The second application is for air bags to increase the extraction capabilities for local fire departments. Each kit would cost around $8,000, for an overall project cost of between $30,000 and $40,000 if all five Lake County departments receive one.
"We've talked about this in the past," Keefer noted.
Commissioner Dennis Slaughter said that when he was on Lake County's search and rescue team, they had air bags. He asked whether these went to the Wentworth Fire Department with other equipment. Keefer did not know.
The final application would be for a boat for the Lake County dive team. Currently, rescue efforts are limited due to available resources. Keefer said a boat 20 feet in length and 8 feet wide would be able to carry five personnel including two divers and two tenders.
"It would greatly enhance our ability to move around," he told commissioners.
In his written report, he added, "The flat bottom design would allow for better shallow water operations as well as easy loading and unloading in smaller bodies of water, like sloughs and small lakes." The estimated cost of the boat would be between $55,000 and $57,000.
In other business, the commissioners:
-- Acknowledged the completion of an advanced paralegal course by Shelli Gust, commission administrative officer, and the efforts of three other employees to expand their skillset by enrolling in a leadership training program.
-- Approved contracts with Midco for internet service to the Lake County Courthouse and the Lake County Highway Department.
-- Approved an amendment to a joint powers force account agreement with the state Department of Transportation, adjusting the limiting amounts for three road repairs necessary as a result of March 2019 flooding. Gust reported the amendment is not uncommon and reflects a more accurate assessment of repair costs.
-- Approved a resolution updating contact information which will be provided to the Wildland Fire Division of the state Department of Agriculture. Gust reported the county's agreement with the Wildland Fire Division is allowed by law and individuals on the list have equal authority to request assistance.
"We have never had to use the agreement and hopefully we never will," she indicated.
In addition to Lake County's five fire chiefs, the list includes Keefer, who is also listed as the County Rural Fire Coordinator, Commission Chair Kelli Wollmann and Sheriff Tim Walburg.
-- Approved the transfer of a Uniform Alcoholic Beverage License from Jacqueline VanLiere to Jason and Sarah Owan. The Owans are purchasing Hef's Bar and Grill in Chester.
-- Approved hiring Desirae Becker to serve as a correctional officer in the Lake County Jail. She was hired effective Feb. 1.
-- Approved a property tax abatement in the amount of $170.16 for an individual who qualified for the Assessment Freeze for Elderly and Disabled but missed the application deadline.
-- Approved a plat for Lot 1 of Sonny's Addition in Herman Township, subdividing a lot for potential future single-family development.
-- Authorized Lake County Highway Superintendent Nels Nelson to travel to Austin, Minn., to look at a used belly-dump trailer and to purchase it if the purchase price doesn't exceed $16,800.
-- Approved a plat for Lot 1 of Dooley's Addition in Badus Township, subdividing the existing farmstead away from the adjacent farmland.
As the Board of Adjustment, with Dale Thompson sitting in as an alternate, the commissioners:
-- Approved a conditional use permit for the Walter and Patricia Schaefer Family Trust and for AT&T, with Curt Walter as the project manager, to build a wireless telecommunications tower and facility adjacent to SD-34 north of Winfred.
-- Approved a conditional use permit for Rick Odland, d.b.a. Highway 34 Storage, LLC, to construct an oversized storage unit alongside existing storage buildings along SD-34 in Lakeview Township.