by Angie Asam-Staff Writer
Presque Isle County will be getting a new phone system installed shortly. The plans have been in the works for several weeks with the county and Frontier working on getting an updated system in place in both the courthouse building and the sheriff’s department.
Wednesday evening the board of commissioners approved a change order in the amount of $3,717.50. The change order reflects a few changes to the original plan. Everything for the system is going to be housed at the sheriff’s department so that it can be backed up by the generator and the county will not lose phones if it looses electricity.
Both the courthouse and the sheriff’s department will now also be on the same controller while being two separate systems.
At the Dec. 26, 2014 meeting the board approved spending $41,000 to update the system for both the courthouse and the sheriff’s department. The meeting between Frontier’s Mike Jussila and the commissioners came as a result from major problems at the sheriff’s department.
The new system should last the county 20 years, and the current systems have been in place for at least that long. The current systems are old and parts for them are non-existent or difficult to find. At the Dec. 26. 2014 meeting Jussila told the commissioners that the system at the sheriff’s department was in dire need of replacement and would come with a price tag of $15,000-$17,000 and when it came time to do the same at the courthouse the county would have had to purchase another controller.
By putting both systems on the same controller the county will save money on the purchase of only one controller as opposed to two and a lot of the pre-work has already been done to make the change possible.
Employees will be trained on the new system in the coming weeks and the new phone system should be up and running next month sometime
IN OTHER COUNTY BOARD NEWS;
• The county received a copy of a contract with Republic Waste for the recycling program. The contract included 26 bins and a total cost of $53,000. The contract was received on Wednesday and no action was taken. The contract will be reviewed by prosecuting attorney Rick Steiger as well as the recycling committee before it is in front of the commissioners for approval.
• Jeff Whitsitt was re-appointed to the building board of appeals. Lester Buza will now serve on the soil erosion committee. Lila Wenzel has been reappointed to the jury board and Darrin Darga will serve as jury board secretary with the resignation of Ann Karsten who is retiring from the county clerk’s office.
• The board approved the use of the courthouse lawn for the Nautical City Festival committee’s arts and crafts show. The use is exclusive to the festival and they must provide the county with necessary insurance.
• The county will advertise for a property insurance provider. Lappan Agency currently serves in that capacity and the policy comes due in June. The county will advertise for bids before making a selection.
• Bids will be sought for the mowing of the grass at the Onaway airport. Those bids will be due April 6.
• Two budget amendments were approved. Neither affects the bottom line. The first was an adjustment of $400 to the 89th District Court drunk driving fund to reflect an increase in revenue. The adjustment simply makes the budget break even. The second was an increase to the senior citizen’s budget of $163,378 to reflect the money collected with the additional millage money that is now being collected.
• Prosecuting attorney Rick Steiger told the board that the first murder trial, involving the death of an infant in Hawks, will be in April and will probably last about one week. Steiger said he expects the trial to come with a fairly expensive price tag.
• Undersheriff Joe Brewbaker met with the finance committee to let them know that K-9 officer Dean Tebo has accepted a job with the Cheboygan County Sheriff’s Department and will be leaving April 15. This brings up many questions as the county will have to figure out what to do with Trigger and the vehicle as well as the millage money that is being collected to pay for Tebo. The millage said the money could be used for a K-9 officer or for a school resource officer. The county cannot sell the K-9 vehicle as grant money was used to purchase it. The dog can be sold but the county has not made any decisions on that as of yet.
• The county will spend up to $2,000 to have the Peter Cole Law firm do a revision of the personnel manual used for county employees. The current manual is six years old and is in need of updating.