City committee OK’s radio system, join TACN if passed by state

Sunday, December 17, 2017

BRANDON HUTCHESON

bhutcheson@stategazette.com

On Friday morning, the City of Dyersburg Finance, Public Safety, and Street and Sanitation Committees convened in City Hall’s upstairs conference room. With multiple items on the agenda, the meeting began with a discussion with Motorola concerning radios, officer body cameras and TACN (Tennessee Advanced Communications Network).

The City’s Public Safety Committee last met with members of Motorola in October to discuss the status and future of the Dyersburg Radio System.

On Friday, Dyersburg EOC Director Mark Grant and Motorola Representative April Onyango addressed the current status of the city’s radio system.

“As we have talked about in the past, our radio system is no longer a radio system – it is essentially a big computer system,” explained Grant. “As most of you know, computers, the servers, the software, require updates. Those updates are quite expensive.

“We have 2 issues with our radio system. The first one is our core, our backbone, right now is overdue for a software and hardware update. We would be looking at close to $250,000 to accomplish that. The second issue that we have is that we are going to have some hardware that will be going out of support next year. As we move forward, staying where we’re at, if we have a failure in our core, it’s going to be harder to get parts.

“Looking forward, instead of looking where we are today, when this board makes a decision on the future, to first and foremost understand our radio system is not like buying a car – that you buy it and replace it when it stops working – it’s something that’s mission critical to the day-to-day operation of the city. It’s like electricity, and that’s something you budget for. Going forward, you’re going to have a cost that’s going to have to be accounted for continuously,” added Grant.

“Our cheapest way out, if you want to do something to fix the problem, and to have a solution in place so we do not have to come back in 10 years – the cheapest solution would be for us to do the required updates to our backbone [and] allow the state of Tennessee to adopt our system [by going on the TACN system] – we’re not giving it to them. We retain the title, we own it, there’s always an escape clause. That update will be subsidized by the state. We still have to pay the state a number amount of dollars, but those dollars are already in my budget because that’s the maintenance that we’re paying Motorola today. We would shift that to the state.”

“It’s about $40,000 a year,” mentioned City Purchasing Agent Greg Williams.

“My recommendation to the Public Safety Committee is to put a sustainable revenue fee in place, that I would call revenue neutral – it doesn’t affect your budget, does not affect property taxes,” said Grant. “It would be simply increasing the existing fee that’s on the gas and water, the emergency services fee, to the appropriate amount, whatever that would be to sustain that. We could be looking at [adding] $1.50.”

According to Grant, the emergency services fee currently stands at $1.50, which is used strictly in the communications fund.

He also spoke on Motorola’s officer body cameras.

“The things it does, no one else can compete with,” said Grant. “In the next software rollout, if an officer pulls their gun from their holster, it will automatically start the camera. It will automatically give our dispatchers that an officer has pulled their gun. That’s not in the first release, but what it does right now, there is no one else that does what these cameras do.”

Grant noted that if the city were to execute a sales contract agreement with Motorola prior to the end of the year, the company would offer an extra incentive. Onyango stated, “The additional incentive is to include 45 in-car video cameras as well as unlimited storage for the police department.”

She added that it was a $350,000 value that Motorola would add to the agreement at no cost.

Grant mentioned that the city would not have to pay for the system until July 2019.

“And that’s how much?” asked Public Safety Committee Chairman and Alderman Bob Kirk.

“$1.56 million,” replied Onyango.

Also, the portable radios currently used by police and fire would be sent to public works, with Motorola providing hardware support to 10 years, according to Grant.

Alderman Mike Morgan asked how much the city collects with the emergency services fee.

“$1.50 brings in $120,000,” responded City Treasurer Steve Anderson.

“Over 10 years at 2.5 percent interest, and if I did that correctly, it came out to $160-something thousand a year for 10 years annually,” said Grant.

Kirk asked of City Mayor John Holden’s opinion.

“You know, we can do it now, or we can do it later,” responded Mayor Holden. “That’s what we’re faced with, obviously. If you delay it, you’re going to have the same discussion next year, 2 years, and like Mark said if parts are unavailable or support runs out – I’m in favor of doing this. That $1.50 fund was put on years ago for the state-of-the-art sirens for our residents and the safe rooms. I think it’s another way to be proactive and to help both fire and police with body cams.”

Kirk asked what the timeframe would be for implementation.

Grant mentioned that it would be in the neighborhood of 8-9 months.

Morgan motioned to proceed with the project, increase the emergency services fee $1.50 [totaling $3 beginning fiscal 2018-2019], work with the 911 Board for potential funding, and join the state radio network (TACN) if passed by the state legislature. Alderman Kevin Chaney seconded the motion. All members of the Public Safety Committee voted in favor.

The city also was approached with an opportunity to purchase property located at 710 Samaria Bend Road from Jimmy Deese.

“This property is not a part of the Southtown Grant, but it’s adjacent to some of the tracts that will be acquired,” said Williams. “It would be very useful for us. It would be useful as maintenance and storage for Public Works. This would be a secondary storage area.”

The cost of the property would be $55,000, and contingent on the city buying the Samaria Bend property, Deese would also include property located at 1175 South Main Ave. at no additional cost.

The South Main property is not part of the Southtown grant, but City Construction Inspector Scott Ball added that it could be used as a parking area.

“If water and sewer use the building, I assume that we could buy it out of the water and sewer fund?” asked Williams.

Anderson nodded yes.

Mayor Holden motioned to purchase the property, using water and sewer funds, which was seconded by Chaney. The motion passed.

Ball presented a sewer consent agreement from HDR Engineering in the amount of $140,000 for sewer rehab work, encompassing 59.4 miles of sewer and 1,093 manholes. A motion to approve the agreement was made by Chaney and seconded by Mayor Holden. All members voted in favor.

Ball also announced that the next rounds of CDBG and LPRF grants are approaching. He asked for the committee’s permission to pursue the grants.

Chaney motioned for Ball to pursue the CDBG grant, with a second from Mayor Holden. The mayor motioned to OK Ball to apply for the LPRF Grant, which is a 50-50 grant and discuss projects at a later date, with Chaney seconding. Both motions passed.

Ball also addressed a letter that was sent from TDEC regarding leachate management compliance at the city landfill.

“Me and Tiffany [Heard, City Engineer] have been working on this, and we referenced the code,” said Ball. “Once we looked the code up, it went into effect in 2016, and our landfill has been in operation since 2002. We’ve never known for the legislature to pass something that you immediately have to take action. Tiffany had reached out to Mr. Kelly [TDEC] yesterday [Thursday], but basically it says that in order to better understand his request, the code was put in effect in 2016 and our landfill was approved in the ‘90s and put to use in 2002. We can’t find any language in the regulation prescribed for the immediate compliance of the landfill. Could you clarify our obligations?”

No action was taken from the committee on the account that TDEC has yet to send a response.

Kirk mentioned that the committee had received an email from attorney Scott Haight concerning the lease to the Dyersburg Gun Club.

In November during a Finance Committee meeting, Chaney mentioned that a local Eagle Scout secured a grant for the gun club. Chaney also noted that the lease couldn’t be found or that it had expired. Mayor Holden added that the lease was at city attorney John Lannom’s office.

During Friday’s meeting, Kirk presented minutes from meetings held in April and May of 1992.

As Kirk read from minutes from a meeting in May 4, 1992, he stated, “the board discussed renewal of the contract with the gun club on city owned property on Lewis Extended. The board approved a motion to grandfather them in lieu of meeting any existing zoning requirements.

“Scott says that you can’t fire a gun in the city,” added Kirk.

Mayor Holden noted that Haight referenced City Ordinance 11-503 that says ‘it shall be unlawful for any unauthorized person to discharge a firearm in the corporate limits’.

“I don’t think the current ordinance has any exemptions for discharge of firearms in the city limits,” added Chief Isbell. “That may be what Scott is referring to. That would have to be in ordinance, first and foremost, and I don’t think there are any exemptions. I think that the ordinance should be changed. You can have an addition to this [ordinance]. This ordinance is our guide.”

The committee asked Mayor Holden to provide a lease to the Dyersburg Gun Club and work on an amendment to City Ordinance 11-503, which would be held during a public hearing upon completion.

It was also announced that a pre-bid requests for quotations for energy conservation evaluation with Noresco would take place on Jan. 11.

Prior to adjournment, Ball mentioned that the drainage study at the Rolling Meadows subdivision had been completed. He added that residents will be notified and a Street and Sanitation Committee meeting would be announced in the near future to discuss findings.

With no further business, the meeting was adjourned.

Respond to this story

Posting a comment requires free registration: