ARMER project approved

NEW ULM – Brown County commissioners unanimously approved a $312,100 Sleepy Eye ARMER radio site project on Tuesday.

The radio site is needed to bring a more reliable ARMER radio signal to the Sleepy Eye. There are currently several reported and documented radio signal “dead spots” in the Sleepy Eye area.

Sleepy Eye City Councilor and Sleepy Eye Ambulance Service Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) JoAnn Schmidt said ambulance service members carry radios on and off duty.

“Many times, I responded when others couldn’t hear radio calls, and others have responded when I couldn’t hear them,” Schmidt said. “Sometimes, calls are not understandable sounds. Some brick and stucco homes with metal mesh interfere with radio signals. Weather and tree foliage can affect them too. When (ARMER) radio works, it’s really a good thing. I’m hearing things I never did before.”

Brown County Sheriff Rich Hoffmann said there will always be some radio “trouble spots,” but that it’s important to do the project right.

Commissioner Andy Lochner said he didn’t see why 911 funds couldn’t be used for the project. “It’s frustrating, we’re sitting on all kinds of (911) money generated by cellphones.”

“I think we should do it. It’s important,” Commissioner Jim Berg said. “

Brown County Attorney Bob Hinnenthal said he thought the project qualified for a one-bid exception (with Alpha Wireless). “It appears to me this fits an exception rule with an experienced vendor for a very technical system,” Hinnenthal said. “I think we can do this.”

“The City of Sleepy Eye thanks you,” Schmidt said after the project resolution was approved.

The existing free-standing tower, tower shed and generator at the Brown County Highway Department in Sleepy Eye will be re-used to mount and house ARMER tower project equipment. Recommended funding sources are $183,500 from revenues remaining from special project levies since 2010 and $128,600 from Revenue Fund 01 contingency line items (General Fund reserves).

In other action, commissioners approved:

A $2,373 bid from Roger Koski of South Lion, Mich., for the sale of a 2004 Ford El Dorado bus declared Property as Excess for Sale on Feb. 25, 2014, by commissioners.

Only one bid was received and opened on the date and time required by board action.

Final acceptance of urban grading, storm sewer, cold in-place recycling (CIR), overlay and aggregate shoulder work on CSAH 16 (old TH 258) from the south county line to TH 14. The project included grading, storm sewer and surfacing work in Comfrey and CIR, overlay and aggregate shoulder work in rural areas, according to the RBA.

The highway had many pavement cracks and needed rehabilitation. The City of Comfrey constructed water main and sanitary sewer work using City Funds. The project was completed in September 2013 except the televising of sewer lines in Comfrey.

The City and contractor have agreed on that issue and final acceptance of the project can be completed. The Brown County Highway Department has completed finalizing quantities and required testing and recommended final acceptance.

(Fritz Busch can be e-mailed at

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