A roughly $6.6 million project to replace the emergency communications system in Douglas County will go forward, but a proposal to revamp the communications’ and emergency management department’s office space will not, at least for now.
After nearly two hours of discussion on Wednesday, the Douglas County Commission approved the proposed overhaul of the radio system. The money for it will come from issuing bonds and an interlocal agreement with the city of Lawrence.
Scott Ruf, emergency communications director, asked for more than $400,000 in addition for renovation of the offices the two county departments work in. The commission eventually agreed that, though the time for improvement would be during the radio revamp, more study was needed. Ruf will meet further with assistant county administrator Sarah Plinsky and others with the aim of re-addressing the commission within 30 to 60 days. Commissioners Jim Flory and Nancy Thellman expressed concern over paying for this portion of the project given other upcoming capital improvement projects.
Ruf did get approval of $375,000 to buy a new generator for the Judicial and Law Enforcement Center, 111 E. 11th St.
In other County Commission news from Wednesday:
• The commissioners approved extending the burn ban that’s been in effect since July 25 for two more weeks. Commissioner Mike Gaughan can cancel it early or allow it to run until Sept. 19. At Flory’s proposal, the commission also added language to the county code preventing fireworks at all times during a burn ban — in a technical loophole, they were previously only banned near July 4 under a burn ban.
• By proclamation, Sept. 7 will be “International Literacy Day” and the week of Sept. 16 to Sept. 22 “Fight Hunger Week.”
• The EMS station in Baldwin City will get a structural boost after a proposal passed to spend between $10,000 and $20,000 to repair a heavily damaged outside wall.
The next County Commission meeting will be 4 p.m. Sept. 19 on the second floor of the Douglas County Courthouse, 1100 Mass.