The Starke County Commissioners are slated this evening to receive an update from IT Director Joe Short on the declaration of a local communication emergency, which the commissioners approved at their previous meeting to allow the county to modify their radio system without approval from the FCC.
EMA Director Ted Bombagetti explained to them the process to declare a local communication emergency, which would give the county the authority to do what needs to be done to restore full radio communications while getting the FCC licensing caught up at a later time. County Attorney Martin Lucas reviewed the information and gave it his approval.
The emergency declaration was necessary due to the crippled Starke County Sheriff’s Department’s radio tower, which was damaged during storms last summer and caused the tower to lose some of its height. This shortening caused the tower’s signal to weaken, and has wreaked havoc for some towns’ radio communications.
At least two fire departments have reported to the commissioners that they have been having trouble receiving pages, which causes a delay in response time. To that end, the commissioners approved a $14,000 expense to relocate the Koontz Lake antenna to a location in Hamlet in an effort to improve signal quality.