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Commissioner apologizes for indirect tie to Nex-Tech

10/22/2013

By RANDY GONZALES

rgonzales@dailynews.net

Ellis County Commission Chairman Dean Haselhorst issued a public apology to Nex-Tech at Monday's regular meeting at the Ellis County Courthouse.

At last week's meeting, a frustrated Haselhorst expressed displeasure with ongoing problems associated with the county's emergency radios, and the system they operate on. Nex-Tech, a Motorola service provider, worked on the radios.

"Nex-Tech's stake in this, Motorola is a commercial account, correct?" Haselhorst asked the three Nex-Tech representatives at the meeting. "Nex-Tech just did the service ... for the county.

"So, you guys, I owe an apology from last week, when I had my venting session, going off on Nex-Tech slash Motorola."

Haselhorst said this morning the problem is not so much the radios, but the state system on which they operate.

"It's definitely the Motorola state system," Haselhorst said. "They basically sold us a bill of goods."

Haselhorst added recent tweaks seem to have improved the system.

Haselhorst said today new dispatch consoles can be phased in starting in approximately five years, about the time when parts could start to become scarce for the county's current system.

To replace all of the dispatch consoles and provide alternate site consoles is estimated to cost $1 million.

"I think there can be a general phasing-in," Haselhorst said.

In other business:

* Commissioners received an update on the new EMS/rural fire building. The architect's plans do not meet city code; the building is too tall for where it is zoned. The architect met with city and county officials last week to attempt to find a solution.

"It took a while, but I think we finally started to come up with some ideas that are passably workable," Ellis County Administrator Greg Sund said.

In his memo to commissioners, Sund said the most likely solution appeared to be slanting the roof. To do that would make it impossible to retain the original 12-foot-high overhead garage doors. The architect suggested looking at side-opening doors. The architect will meet with the commissioners at their next meeting Nov. 4.

"I have to say the city has tried to help us, work with us in every way, shape and form, and they have been really great about it," Commissioner Barbara Wasinger said. "The burden of responsibility for this problem has nothing to do with the city. It lands squarely on the shoulders of the architects."

* Commissioners approved a plan to address stormwater runoff issues at the county building at 601 Main, as part of the renovation project.

* Commissioners approved entering into a contract with county counselor Bill Jeter for a $5,000 monthly retainer, starting in January. Jeter, whose fee had not been raised since 2002, will be able to attend meetings starting in January, due to the new time of 5 p.m., effective at that time.

* Commissioners approved purchase of a motor-grader, including the trade-in of an old one, for $186,464, plus $7,000 for the cross-slope option, from Foley Equipment, Wichita.

* Commissioners went into executive session for 25 minutes to discuss the Buckeye Wind Project. No action was taken.

* Commissioners approved County Clerk Donna Maskus' request for area children associated with 4H, Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts and other organizations to help decorate trees on county property located near Hays Public Library.

* Commissioners reported on a requested fence viewing. Their decision was both property owners should split the cost for a new fence.

* Commissioners approved joining a lawsuit regarding the state's distribution to impacted counties of 2013 revenues to the Oil and Gas Valuation Depletion Fund.

* Commissioners approved a special event malt beverage license for Knights of Columbus for Nov. 5 at Ellis County Fairgrounds.