Modern emergency services are dependent on accurate and timely communications, but that becomes more of a challenge in parts of Barton County than in others.
This week the Barton County Commission approved a plan to utilize radio tower space that will help keep emergency officers in touch throughout the county.
County Administrator Richard Boeckman explained that County Communications — the department that operates the county’s 911 dispatch system — depends on “repeaters” situated on towers around the county, used to boost the radio signal that is used to keep the emergency teams and the dispatchers in touch.
One of those repeaters is on a tower located north of Great Bend and another is on a tower northeast of Barton County Community College. Both need to be moved.
The one located north of Great Bend, Boeckman explained, is on a tower that is no longer safe and that is going to be removed.
Fortunately for the county, the Kansas Department of Transportation has a tower just south of Barton Hills — located between Great Bend and Hoisington — and the repeaters can be installed on that structure.
But there is work that the county has to fund before that arrangement can be made, the commission was told, Monday.
According to information from the county administrator, “Prior to being approved, KDOT requires an engineering analysis for structure and frequency be performed by KDOT’s contracted agent, B&T Engineering, Oklahoma.”
The cost of that work, $2,125, was approved by the commission.
The tower is on a high point and the repeaters would be placed at a spot 370 feet up the tower. “It should provide excellent communication,” Boeckman commented.
In addition to paying for the study, there would be annual costs for the use of the tower, which would amount to $1,494.94 per year, it was reported. “It appears that this really is a good price that KDOT is giving to the county,” the administrator added.