CLARION – Clarion County is continuing to take steps to improve communication within its 911 system.

During their regular meeting Tuesday morning, Commissioners Ted Tharan, Wayne Brosius and Ed Heasley unanimously approved a contract on behalf of Public Safety with Tressco Inc. to purchase voter radio equipment through CoStar state contracts.

“This is something I’ve wanted for a long time,” Clarion County Department of Public Safety director Jeff Smathers said following the meeting of the new voter radio equipment. “I can’t wait to get it in.”

According to Smathers, the new voter radio equipment will streamline the county’s med system by bringing the audio from all six transmitting sites throughout the county into one area before voting the best audio and sending it back to the rest of the county.

“Basically, what happens now is [dispatchers] have to manually select transmitting sites to follow them through the county,” Smathers explained, noting that the new system will automatically switch audio to the transmitter with the best reception countywide. “It takes the best audio every time they speak.”

“Right now, we have some choppiness within the county,” he continued. “This will clean that up.”

Smathers added that the new voter radio system will also make the job of a dispatcher a little less stressful because they will no longer have to worry about manually switching transmitters.

“They can focus more on asking questions and talking to the person,” he said.

In addition to automatically transferring audio, Smathers said the new voter radio equipment will also automatically detect any issues within the system.

“It will automatically adjust for any problems detected in the system,” he said, adding that dispatchers currently have no way of knowing if there is an issue with a particular transmitter. “We will basically have a no fail transfer, meaning we will never hit a dead site.”

Smathers also pointed out that the new equipment is IP-based, allowing an easy switch to digital communication through fiber optics or microwaves.

“This unit itself will blend the old with the new,” he said. “This is a purchase we won’t have to replace. As we progress to the future and make changes, this system will be able to change with us.”

The new equipment will be paid for with a 60/40 matching EMMCO West Communications Projects Grant.

In related business, the commissioners approved a contract with Mobilcom to install the new voter radio equipment at a cost of $4,320.

Other Business

• Multiple leases were approved within the county Human Services building effective March 1 through June 30. They include: Human Services Development at a total cost of $1,884; CYS at a cost of $39,304; and JusticeWorks Youth Care at a cost of $3,644.

• The commissioners accepted the retirement notice of Roxie Randolph in Assessment effective June 28, as well as the resignation of Conner Dame in corrections.

• Lauren Elder was repositioned to the vacant director of GIS position at a salary of $35,000. She will begin her new full-time duties on March 25.

In addition, Charity Rittmeyer was hired to fill the vacant director of assessment position also effective March 25. Rittmeyer was hired full-time at a salary of $36,000.

• A contract was also approved with Fyock’s Lawn Care Plus for summer maintenance at the Helen Furnace Park. The park will be maintained at a cost of $145 bi-weekly from May to October.

• County officials approved a contract on behalf of Central Accounting with Maximus Consulting Service to develop a cost allocation plan.

The term of the contract is March 1 through March 31, 2022 at a cost of $5,500 per year, totaling $16,500.

• April Shumaker was repositioned to the vacant position of full-time temporary officer in charge at the county jail effective March 11 at a salary of $18.96 per hour.

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