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County 911 system could be headed for update

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HARTINGTON — Cedar County’s 911 system was the major topic of conversation March 24 for Cedar County Commissioners.

County Emergency Manager Kevin Garvin met with the board to discuss Next Generation 911 which will be an enhanced 911 operation with updated technology and method of operation.  

“The technology the phone companies use for this today is about 50 years old,” Garvin said after the meeting. “It was never designed to be used with cell phones or Voice over IP technology in mind.” 

Garvin said there is a nation-wide initiative to upgrade that infrastructure, “to better utilize technology and better harness the technology we have today.”

He said the new system should allow the 911 system to handle cell phone location tracking, text messaging and even video downloads.

There are 8-10 area counties that will make up the Next Generation system Cedar County will be included in, he said. Of those, two or three counties will be set up as host counties. 

A host county will need to have the adequate facilities, manpower and will take on certain additional responsibilities.  

“Because of the advances in technology, not everybody has to have the equipment in their back room,” he said. “All the other counties can have work stations that run off these host counties.”

Garvin asked Commissioners Tuesday if Cedar County would be interested in being a host county.  After the interested counties have been identified, the 10 counties will vote on which ones they would like to act as host counties.  

Garvin asked the board to think about it and he would be on the agenda at the next board meeting to further discuss the opportunity to be a host and provide a bit more information and answer any further questions.  

The decision to vote and decide on the host counties will probably be made sometime in May, he said.

The full implementation of Next Generation 911 could take several years before it is fully operational, Garvin said.

Also Tuesday, Road Supt. Carla Schmidt presented one underground application for District Two which was approved and signed.  

Schmidt then presented a printout for each district on the Federal Fund buyback distribution as well as the agreement for the Highway 20 project resolution 20-03 connecting to Hwy 81 and resolution 20-04 regarding the road project north of Crofton.

Treasurer, Jean Wiebelhaus reported on four tax delinquent properties she was recommending be turned over to the County Attorney for a county tax sale.  

Board Chairman McGregor signed the request approving Wiebelhaus to proceed with the tax sale implementation.

Zoning Administrator, Tim Gobel presented one building permit for Ryan Marsh for a 100,000 bushel grain bin that was approved by the commissioners.  

Gobel then presented three conditional use permits for approval.  The first permit was for Gene Granquist for a five-acre tract for a house, a second permit was for Clearwater Properties for a ten-acre tract for a house to be built and the third permit was for the Margarite Stage Trust for a 16.56 tract.  All the conditional use permits were approved as presented with a 3-0 vote.

With no further business on the agenda or any new business, the meeting was adjourned.  The next regular scheduled meeting of the commissioners will take place on Tuesday, April 14 at 8:30 a.m. at the Courthouse.