Surry County upgrades 911 emergency equipment

By Jeff Linville -
The county seal is part of the signage going up on the newly renamed Surry County Government Resource Center off Rockford Street behind Arby’s and KFC. -

DOBSON — The Surry County Board of Commissioners will hold its next meeting Monday at Mount Airy Middle School at 6 p.m.

The satellite meeting will give city residents a nearby opportunity to see officials in action. Perhaps the next meeting will hold more in store than the last where commissioners took care of some busy work.

At the most recent function, the county board approved applying for a couple of grants, selling off three used vehicles, replacing signage at one government building, and purchasing several new battery backups for the county 911 Communications Center.

• Back in June, the board approved the purchase of UPS (uninterrupted power supply) devices for the 911 center.

“We could not purchase and install (these) until the phone system was installed and live,” explained Stephanie Conner, communications director. “The new phone system went live at the end of August.”

In the three months between first approval and the time to make the purchase, the prices increased, Conner noted.

The 26 UPS battery systems, a $1,000 freight charge and $4,800 for installation and disposal fees put the total bill at almost $39,700.

Conner said the amount could be taken from the 911 surcharge balance (collected from monthly phone bills) and need not come from her department’s budget. The board voted its approval.

• In other emergency management needs, John Shelton requested two purchases for which the county could seek reimbursement from the state.

The emergency services director said that as part of ongoing projects within the central branch of N.C. Emergency Management, his department has a chance to replace a truck and purchase message boards.

One grant would purchase messages boards for five or six of the 11 counties in Disaster Preparedness Region 5, Shelton explained. Surry would get one of these message boards and hosting the grant would “be another opportunity to build positive relationships with our peers in other counties,” he wrote in a memo to the board.

The reimbursement grant for this project is up to $66,000.

The other grant would reimburse up to $54,000 toward the purchase of a diesel-powered prime mover truck. This would allow the county to replace the existing F-350 with an F-450 or similar vehicle, said Shelton, with the older model transferring to Person County Emergency Management for its use.

• Gary Watson, county purchasing agent, petitioned the board for special permission to sell three used vehicles that are valued above his cutoff limit.

Watson said that he is only authorized to dispose of assets below $5,000.

A 2000 Isuzu truck up for auction climbed to $5,700 and passed his threshold, so he needed special dispensation.

Two other pieces of equipment were fully expected to pass the $5,000 limit, and permission was granted for them as well.

A 2007 John Deere 700J bulldozer had a surplus value of $37,500, said Watson. Once placed online for bids, the count jumped to more than $45,000. A final, exact sum was not listed.

A Volvo A35C articulated truck had an estimated value of $12,000, but bidding had jumped to $18,000 by the time Watson filed his memo with the county manager.

Judging by the most recent bids listed, the three sales altogether would come to nearly $69,000.

• A need to replace a sign led to a new name as well.

Don Mitchell, facilities director, informed the board that a county building in Mount Airy had damage to its signage.

The Human Services Center off Rockford Street (which houses departments like the EMS and Child Services) has a sign with letters that are broken in several places and are badly stained, Mitchell said.

Since a new sign was needed, the Property Committee also discussed the name of the building and felt that it didn’t accurately describe the functions of the county tenants.

The Committee recommended the Surry County Government Resource Center.

Mitchell requested quotes from a couple of local sign companies to take down the old letters and logo, pressure-wash the surfaces, repaint, install the new name, and install a county seal. He received replies from Interstate Signs and Burton SignWorks.

Interstate bid $9,998, and Burton bid $14,681. The county approved the bid from Interstate Signs with the new name.

The county seal is part of the signage going up on the newly renamed Surry County Government Resource Center off Rockford Street behind Arby’s and KFC. county seal is part of the signage going up on the newly renamed Surry County Government Resource Center off Rockford Street behind Arby’s and KFC.

By Jeff Linville

Reach Jeff at 415-4692.

Reach Jeff at 415-4692.