DeKalb County to Update Communications

DeKalb County to Update Communications

Marla Jones, Managing Editor

FORT PAYNE, Ala.--(FULL VIDEO ON SOUTHERN TORCH FACEBOOK) The DeKalb County Commission held its regularly scheduled meeting on Tuesday, August 9.

The Commission approved the new Communications project which was a Presendiental Policy Directive.  The DeKalb County Commission will set aside two million dollars for the project.  

For over ten years, upgrading the1970s equipment has been discussed.  Currently, parts to repair existing equipment are not available.  Funds have become available through the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) to help fund the project. 

The DeKalb County Emergency Communications Advisory Board was formed to begin plotting the path from the state of the current communications systems to what is needed to be implemented to better serve the citizens of DeKalb County.  Members of the Board consist of Anthony Clifton and Michael Posey of the DeKalb EMA, Cheryl Turner and Mike Leath of the DeKalb Ambulance Service, Dale Manning of the Police Chief’s Association, Nathan Nail of the DeKalb County Association of Fire Departments President, Scott Westbrook, Chairman of the DeKalb 911 Board, Sabrina Dobbins, Director of the DeKalb County 911, Matt Martin of the DeKalb County Sherrif’s Office and Mike Hagans, DCEM & DCIC. 

After 9/11, Hurricane Katrina, and tornadoes like were seen in our area in 2011, it was clear that communications between agencies were of utmost importance. 

There will be three phases of upgrading existing communications.  The first phase will consist of a Data Management System that will be a new data system to connect all responders together.   DeKalb County Emergency Management Director Anthony Clifton said simply stated “all people will be singing from the same songbook.”  

Matt Martin, Chairman of the Advisory Board and a representative from the DeKalb County Sheriff’s Office stated that the new Computer Aided  Dispatch System (CAD)  will log and dispatch the calls.  A feature will be a map showing all first responders that are in the area. 

 “The new system will put everyone on the same playing field with the same information” stated Matt Martin. 

The second phase will be the actual infrastructure for the radio system which will consist of placing antennas on towers. 

The third phase will be the actual purchase of each individual radio for the responders and responder agencies.  They are three radios providers to choose from depending on the need of the agency.

“Currently there are over 70 million dollars of grants available with the County only needing around five million dollars to complete the project” state DeKalb County EMA Director Anthony Clifton. 

The new Communications project will be a joint effort between the DeKalb County Commission, DeKalb County Emergency Management Agency, DeKalb Ambulance Service, DeKalb County Sherrif’s Office, DeKalb County Association of Fire Department, DeKalb County 911 Board, DeKalb County Police Chief’s Association of the DeKalb County Mayors Association. 

In other business, Road Superintendent, Tom Broyles gave an update on County Road 835 (Old Highway 35) project.  Grade work is almost finished and will be ready to turn over for paving in the upcoming week.  Equipment breakage is the main reason that construction has stalled on the road project. 

“I’ll be glad to get this done” stated Tom Broyles. 

DeKalb County Engineer Ben Luther updated the Commission on two different bid awards. 

The first award was the CR 78- Pipe Liner Bid which was awarded to Lambert Inc. in the amount of $128,500 which includes all material and labor.   

The second award was the CR 835 Resurfacing Bid which was awarded to Wiregrass in the amount of $315,085.51 which includes traffic stripping and guardrails. Alabama Department of Transportation (ALDOT) reviewed and approved the bid. 

Luther also presented the FY2023 Rebuild Alabama CTP which states which roads will be paved with the funds.  Luther stated that estimated annual revenue funds are projected at least the same as last year.  It is required to adopt the budget by the end of August and can be amended as needed.  The Commission passed the FY2023 Rebuild Alabama budget.

The Commission appointed Emory Ashley and Roger Hurtt to the expired positions on the Dogtown Fire Department Board. 

The Commission passed three resolutions through the Americal Rescue Act (ARPA)

  • Fort Payne Water-Culpepper Road Project- The commission allotted $300,00 toward the project  which will improve the quality and volume of water from Highway 35 toward Fisher
  • Section-Dutton Water- Generator Project- The Commission approved the generator project that will provide  the Fyffe/Geraldine area with a generator to pump water in during emergencies
  • Crossville Water- Highway 68 Waterline Project- The Commission approved a $300,000 allotment to aid in this project
  • NE Water- CR 180 Waterline Extension - The Commission amended a resolution to allot $125,000 more to the project due to costs coming in higher than estimated

The next meeting of the DeKalb County Commission will be held on Tuesday, September 13, beginning at 10:00 a.m. in the Activities Building. 

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