The Linn County Board of Commissioners approved a loan for up to $2 million from the County Road Fund to upgrade radios for the Linn County Sheriff’s Office and to upgrade the county’s 25-year-old 9-1-1 dispatch center equipment.
Both projects have been on the county’s radar over the past year but are nearing contract finalization.
The County Road Fund balance is about $30 million. When the county borrows from the fund, it pays a higher interest rate than the fund is earning in the state pool. The county pays about 2 percent, compared to less than one-half of 1 percent from the state pool.
LCSO Captain Don Messick said the county is finalizing the purchase of portable radios, mobile vehicle radios, charging stations and a repeater system, all totaling $649,976. The contract is with Motorola Solutions, Inc.
The new radios will allow the county to maintain contact with other area agencies, which has not always been possible with the current systems.
“This equipment is designed to completely and seamlessly integrate with our dispatch radios in order to provide better radio quality and safety for first responders while providing greater service to the public we serve,” Messick noted in a letter to the commissioners.
Staff Sgt. Micah Smith updated the commissioners on the nearly $3 million upgrade of the county’s dispatch communications system, console replacement and new radio system. The county’s share of the total is about $1.8 million, since the city of Albany participates financially as well.
In other business, the commissioners:
• Received an update about Oregon Cascades West Council of Governments activities by director Fred Abousleman. He said the Meals on Wheels program delivered more than 33,000 meals to 2,257 individuals from August through October in Linn County and 53,321 meals to 3,629 individuals regionally.
He added that the Senior Health Insurance Benefits assistance program assisted 406 clients in the last three months, up 211 clients in Linn County.
Abousleman also said that the county's Foster Grandparent program has been extremely successful. Some 26 volunteers donated 3,759 hours to children ages 3 to 18 over the last three months.
• Approved a $1,400 right-of-way easement for PacifiCorp for the Lyons to Mill City power line upgrade.
• Approved the following fund transfers: $742,157 for the new Linn County Sheriff’s Office equipment; $1,950,000 for the purchase of the former Albany Police Department building and National Guard armory and new elections software for the County Clerk’s office; $7,700 in state funds for repairs at the county jail; $100,000 for a cooperative Linn and Benton county health departments project; $202,623 for increased staffing within the health department; $624,909 from the state to the health department for developmental disabilities services; $93,750 from the state for the alcohol and drug program services; $88,384 from the state for materials and services in the public health department; $49,473 new computer equipment within the health department; $50,000 from the state for Environmental Protection Agency work at the former Willamette mill site in Sweet Home.