Plymouth County fiber optics plan moves forward

Posted July 24, 2013 at 4:06 pm

By Steve Peterson

At their July 9 meeting, Plymouth Country Supervisors discussed boring fiber optics underground to Secondary Road Division’s offices and removal of the tower from the Plymouth County Courthouse roof with Information Technology Director Shawn Olson.

Supervisors gave Olson support for his plan to install a fiber optic line from the courthouse to the County Engineer’s Office on 170th Street in Le Mars.

Olson told supervisors first a bid package would have to be put together. Then the old tower on the courthouse would be removed.

“They are moving forward with moving the police and county fire (equipment) to the school tower site. The school district was gracious to allow us to go there. Now we’re working on getting the County Engineer Department (use) off of the current tower,” said Olson.

“The fiber line will leave the courthouse grounds, to Third Avenue SE, go to Second Street NE, northwest to Fourth Street NE, to Fifth Avenue to Iowa Highway 75, to 170th Street and to the County Engineer’s Office,” said Olson. “We will follow the rights-of-way that are already in place.”

The cost is about $85,000, Olson told supervisors, a savings from a $100,000 cost of a lease. Also less phone lines would be needed at the County Engineers’ Office.

“I could put together a bid package because it is over $25,000, I defer to the supervisors. This will be county-owned. The bid package would be like the one we did in 2002 for the County Jail site. I would prefer the fiber lines be placed 50 to 55 inches deep, lower than other lines, using conduit. This will speed up the information flow from the wireless system, and we will be able to provide more services,” said Olson.

“For the jail project we had two bidders but since, others may be able to submit a bid,” said Olson.

“It sounds like something that you need to do to remove the tower,” said Supervisor Jim Henrich.

A bid package will be coming before supervisors in about two or three weeks from Olson.

At the same time as the fiber optical line is being installed, a new entrance will be made at the County Engineer’s Office.

In other agenda items:

• Approved by a unanimous vote a letter of support for the City of Kingsley for a water improvement grant.

Plymouth County Emergency Management Agency Director Gary Junge and Siouxland Metropolitan Planning Council (SIMPCO) representatives Dwight Lange and Kristi Quinn were expected to be present for approval a multi- jurisdictional plan.

“SIMPCO has been contracted to do our multi-hazard plan. This is due to FEMA’s office every five years. It keeps us eligible for Federal and State disaster funds. We have received them three times in the last five years so it is very important to our county,” said Junge. “It is a plan we have worked on the last two or three years. All communities and schools will approve this. Then in two years, the process starts over again. The current one expired at the end of this month. The plan can be updated at any time.”

“The plan is at FEMA for its review. FEMA at Kansas City, Mo., has 90 days to review it,” said Quinn. There can be minor corrections made during the life of the plan but if you amend your goals or objectives, it would have to go back to FEMA, explained Quinn. “Before FEMA can approve it, you have to approve it but they had not made their changes to it yet. FEMA is changing its directives for the plans.”

“It covers goals for all the communities,” said Junge, explaining when the flood occurred, the county got mitigation dollars because of a plan it had approved. An example of a mitigating act was noted when the City of Akron moved utility poles which had been in a flood prone area.

• In correspondence, retiring Plymouth County Conservation Board Director Dennis Sohl informed the supervisors he has resigned as a Loess Hills Alliance Board member. He was one of three Plymouth County representatives. Nick Beeck, Sohl’s successor as Conservation Department leader, will replace him on the Loess Hills Board.

• Plymouth County Recorder Jolynn Goodchild presented her quarterly report from April to June 30, which was approved.

• Don Beitelspacher of Brunsville was introduced to supervisors as a new member of the Plymouth County Veterans Commission.

• Chad Pecks of Le Mars was introduced to supervisors as the additional dispatcher, now in training, for the Sheriff’s Office. He is an alumnus of Gehlen Catholic High School.

“He has worked as a tracker at Le Mars Community School District. We’re very happy to have Chad on board,” said Plymouth County Sheriff Mike Van Otterloo.

• Plymouth County Supervisors meet each Tuesday at 9:30 a.m. at the Plymouth County Courthouse, first floor board room, 215 4th St. SE, Le Mars. Meetings are open to the public.

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