County OKs study for communications center

By Xiomara Levsen, The JOURNAL


The Washington County Board of Supervisors approved a feasibility study for the new communications building at the meeting Tuesday morning.

Washington County Auditor Dan Widmer said the approval was a formality allowing the supervisors to move forward in the process. The next step will be for the county to send out requests for proposals (RFP) for a feasability study to be done by an architect.

Before the supervisors approved the motion, there was some disucssion about the new communications building. The cost of having a feasibility study done wasn?t discussed and architect firms weren?t named,

?[Supervisor] Abe Miller had some concerns about the board not having a public vote on the building,? Widmer said. ?He wants the public to have a vote, but has said he is 100 percent in favor of the project.?

Supervisor Jack Seward Jr. said the public does have a say in the project because there are members of the public on the communications board.

In June, the county found out from a study done by Elert Associates that the cost to upgrade the communications center equipment would be anywhere from $4.6 to $10.4 million. This is when the discussion about the need for a new building came up.

Washington County Communications Center supervisor Cara Sorrells reported to the Communications Commission at their July meeting that the air-conditioning went out in the current building June 23 causing all the consoles to go down, as reported in The Journal. County staff and an air conditioning company were able to get everything reset and the radios came back on. The communications center is also having plumbing and electrical issues.

In September, the county applied for a grant application to the Washington County Riverboat Foundation for funding of the Washington County Public Safety Radio System and construction of a communications building.

They?re asking for 22 percent of the total project, which is a little over $2 million of the $10.4 million price tag of the project.