Martin Co. upgrading 911 system

FAIRMONT – Martin County commissioners approved two major technology upgrades for law enforcement Tuesday.

Sheriff Jeff Markquart and Chief Deputy Corey Klanderud told commissioners the E-911 emergency system is in dire need of replacement at a cost of about $188,000, with the majority of the funds expended from the E-911 fund.

“Most other counties have already done this,” Markquart said.

Klanderud said Martin County’s system has “limped along” the last few years.

They asked commissioners to authorize a 20 percent down payment, equaling $28,680, on equipment and a five-year agreement for support services with Independent Emergency Services of Hutchinson, with the project scheduled for completion early next year.

“You have to put money down just to get on their schedule,” Markquart said.

The second request involved the video/voice recording system used for interviews in the sheriff’s office. The current system operates on Windows XP, which Microsoft no longer supports, and upgrading the system, if it even is possible, would cost as much as a new system.

Commissioners OK’d Northland Business Systems’ quote of about $13,600 for a system that improve preservation of the chain of custody and offer a better backup system. The cost also includes replacement of four laptops in squad cars.

In other action, commissioners:

o Set an hourly rate of $60, effective July 1, to be charged to other government entities utilizing the technology services of county employee Steve McDonald.

o Agreed to enter into negotiations for the private sale of tax-forfeited land adjacent to Serenade’s By the Lake on Albion Avenue. The Legislature approved the private sale to adjoining landowners only.

o Approved purchase of a new John Deere road grader to replace one destroyed in a recent fire at the county’s shop in Dunnell. Insurance will cover about $121,000 of the $232,000 purchase.

o Decided to discuss changing the position of county surveyor from an elected position to an appointed one. County Auditor Jim Forshee noted that Martin County is one of only three counties in the state that still has the surveyor as an elected position. Commissioners will vote on the issue at their July 1 meeting.