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‘Clarion Elizabeth’ Joins Commissioners; 9-1-1 Towers Dominate Discussion

Wednesday, February 6, 2019 @ 12:02 AM

Posted by Ron Wilshire

fullsizeoutput_5e0bCLARION, Pa. (EYT) – Topics for the Tuesday morning Clarion County Commissioners’ workshop session included everything from the introduction of a new dog to a discussion on elaborate plans for acquiring a 400-foot Strattanvile Tower for the 9-1-1 system that could allow the elimination of the Trinity Point Tower and its $36,000.00 annual rent.

[Commissioner Ted Tharan brought along his new dog to Tuesday morning meeting as Commissioners Ed Heasley (left) and Wayne Brosius look on.]

Workshop sessions are advertised, but no official action is taken at the meeting.

Clarion County Commissioner Ted Tharan used the opportunity to introduce his new “comfort” dog, a Teddy Bear Goldendoodle.  He said he obtained “Clarion Elizabeth” from Blane and Jen Gold, of New Bethlehem, on the condition that it is not moved outside of Clarion County.

Tharan said he brought the dog to work because a sitter was not available, and it wouldn’t be an everyday occurrence.

Under regular business items, commissioners discussed the resignation of Cherin Abdelsamie, Director of Assessment/GIS, and Lori Switzer. Abdelsamie resigned for a position in the private sector in Pittsburgh. Assistant Director Lauren Elder is serving as interim director as commissioners review options.

One option being considered is dividing the department back into separate departments for assessment and GIS.  The GIS function could be handled through Public Safety and 9-1-1. A move to enable public review of GIS records will likely be tabled until a reorganization plan is implemented.

A four-year contract with the UMWA for CYS caseworkers will likely be approved at next Tuesday’s regular meeting. A new contract has been under review for several years, but Tharan indicated all parties have agreed to the new contract.

A new position of special projects coordinator will likely be approved at the next Clarion County salary board meeting. Rose Logue, former director of accounting, is expected to take the position as a part-time, nonexempt employee at no more than 29 hours per week at a salary of $25.42 per hour. The effective date was January 29, 2019.

Commissioners also plan to issue a proclamation for Knox Fire Company on its 85thanniversary.

A tower inspection by Robert Heath, PE, LLC, will include structural tower mapping, TIA inspection, and tower analysis at a cost of $7,250.00.

“That project is for a tower in Stratanville that if we have a good report on that, they will be giving us that 400-foot tower,” said Tharan. “That tower would then replace the tower that we are currently renting at Trinity Point by 2020.”

Public Safety Director Jeff Smathers explained the tower situation.

“The tower is currently owned by Robert Greene and is well known in the area as the Motorola Tower,” Smathers said. “It was constructed in 1997 by Motorola. We’re trying to consolidate and save rental fees on some of our towers. The Trinity site is $36,000 a year rental with the 3 to 5 percent increase every year after 2020 and our lease runs out.”

“I reached out to Mr. Greene to see if he would be interested in doing a co-location, and he said he would be interested in transferring the ownership of the tower to Clarion County. I then contacted Mr. Heath and asked him to do a tower analysis to make sure we’re buying it safe, solid, and secure. He does all the state towers inspections, and he said he would come in, do the structural analysis, the full inspection from top to bottom, and also the power analysis. He’s basically telling us what’s the maximum load we can put on the tower.”

Tharan also said the commissioners are going to get a price from him on relighting the tower with LED lights if the county goes through with this project.

“This is all part of our plan to acquire towers, so we can then eventually work on that subject that has been out there for about 10 years, broadband communications for all the rural areas,” Tharan said. “Jeff assures me he could hit anywhere in the county for communications with a tower being 400 feet high. In order to get broadband communications to the rural area, the only way we could ever achieve it is through towers.”

A tower system like this would allow emergency communications throughout Clarion County.

“We would able to relay communications out to the other sites,” Smathers said. “You have to have a master site like this that’s pretty much centralized in the county. At the current time, we are only on two towers. The plan is to move to a smaller footprint, and by raising the height of the tower we’re on, I can propagate out to others.”

Another project to refine communications includes an EMMCO West Communications Projects Grant. EMMCO West pays 60 percent ($13,206.00), and Clarion County pays 40 percent ($8,804.00).

It turned out that Clarion Elizabeth wasn't all that impressed with the meeting and decided to take a nap.

It turned out that Clarion Elizabeth wasn’t all that impressed with the meeting and decided to take a nap.

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