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Vilas County public property committee approves new courthouse PA system

August 27, 2019 by Kayla Houp

The Vilas County Public Property Committee on Aug. 20 approved an expansion on the existing PA system, which would extend into the courthouse, after reviewing quotes submitted by three different companies.

“They’re all very, very close to one another,” Vilas County information technology director Mike Duening said. 

Duening said they had worked with all three of the companies — Simplex, Arrow AV, and Kozar Technologies — in the past and that his recommendation would be to go ahead with the low bidder, Kozar.

“And we’re talking about virtually the same equipment and the equipment is compatible with each other?” committee chair and Vilas County board chairman Ron DeBruyne asked. “In other words, the existing equipment versus the new equipment?”

Duening confirmed.

“There’s basically two systems. There’s the law enforcement side, which covers the sheriff’s office, and then there’s the system that covers the existing courthouse,” Duening said. “The system that covers the existing courthouse will be expanded to also cover this building. So any announcements that happen in the courthouse side, not law enforcement, will also happen in this building.”

DeBruyne asked if dispatch had the capability of broadcasting simultaneously to the entire system.

“They can do one, the other, or both,” Duening explained.

According to Duening, there would be no software needed for the program, as it was already existing and controlled from the phone system.

“So they pick up the phone, they dial a special extension, and it broadcasts over the system,” Duening said.

“We’re OKing this for the 2020 budget?” committee vice chair Steve Doyen asked.

Doyen said he wanted to make sure they were looking at the expansion as a 2020 project.

Doyen moved to approve using Kozar Technologies in the expansion to the courthouse PA system contingent on approval of the budget

After the motion was called to a vote and unanimously passed, some clarification followed on where exactly in the budget the project fell.

Duening said the project was actually in the courthouse outlay, which was a separate budget item.

“When in 2020 will you see this being installed?” committee member Walt Maciag asked.

Duening said it would be in first quarter.

“They all needed 60 days notice, so I would say as soon as that budget is approved in October, I will let them know that they can begin any time after Jan. 1,” Duening said.

“Jim (Galloway) has been — and rightly so, I’m not blaming anybody, I’m just saying that Jim brought this to our attention a long time ago, so I’m glad it’s finally gonna happen,” DeBruyne said.

Memorandum of understanding 

Duening presented to the committee a memorandum of understanding (MOU) between Vilas County and the City of Eagle River regarding I.T. services.

“This was working off an existing MOU that we adjusted and then ran through Jack Albert for final approval,” Duening said “Jack needed a couple minor adjustments to some of the wording as far as payment timing goes. We had a sitdown with the city members and came to an agreement that allows us to continue to support them and recoup some additional costs for some server hosting that we provide to them.”

There was only one significant change to the MOU, Duening indicated, stating that the county had been hosting a server for the Eagle River Police Department for the last few years that stored all of the body cam and squad cam footage.

“It’s quite a bit of data and it’s a pretty good size server,” Duening said. “We have not been charging them for that in the past; however, due to our new needs for additional space, it was suggested that we try to recoup some of the costs for storage space. So we came up with a number that’s actually very reasonable. $3,000 a year for storage hosting, server hosting, and all licensing for that server.”

“And Eagle River’s choice is to either continuing the way it has been going with Vilas County storing their data or purchasing their own equipment to store data?” DeBruyne asked.

Duening said that was correct and the only thing the county had charged the city in the past was through recouping money for licensing costs.

“You have been supporting their I.T. needs in the past also, is that true?” DeBruyne asked.

“I.T. and sheriff’s office,” Duening said, clarifying that any questions in regards to Spillman’s Public Safety Software went to the sheriff’s office while the I.T. department took care of other questions.

Duening said the $3,000 was reasonable and there was a benefit to the relationship with the Eagle River Police Department, such as information sharing.

“To work with both of those agencies, the Eagle River Police Department and Lac du Flambeau Police Department, they’re kind of dealing with a lot of the same people and information sharing is very important with that and supporting each other. There’s a benefit to everybody to work together to do that,” Duening said. “We have the resources as far as infrastructure goes to support those needs.”

Duening said while they had sat down with Eagle River to come to the agreement, they still needed the city to sign it.

According to DeBruyne, the MOU negotiated, and Duening had been accompanied by himself and Vilas County chief deputy Patrick Schmidt, as well as the Eagle River police chief and other Vilas County representatives at the meeting.

The committee unanimously approved the MOU with the City of Eagle River. 

Justice Center update

The public property committee approved a bid in the amount of $231,980 from RAM Construction Services of Minnesota, LLC for the Justice Center parking garage remediation project.

“We did receive three bids for the work that was in the bid documents,” Samuels Group’s Kurt Berner said. “What I did was I put them together here.”

Berner said when they did the pre-bid walkthrough, both contractors present, Concrete & Masonry Restoration, LLC and RAM Construction Services of Minnesota, LLC, implied they were only comfortable doing the interior work inside of the garage.

“It’s basically the repair of that garage floor, which will be the demolition of the slab, come back to replace the structural rebar to replace the concrete and then do the traffic coating within,” Berner said. 

Berner explained two of the bids the committee had before them were solely for the interior of the project, while the third bid, from the Samuels Group, was for the exterior.

According to Berner, the exterior project would include demolition of the sonotubes, the structural retaining walls, as well as handling all of the temporary partitions that are required during demolition.

“If you look at the numbers that are associated there, RAM was at $231,980, CMR was at $391,055, so there’s quite a spread there,” Berner said. “And then Samuels Group was at $78,500.”

Berner stated he had spoken to RAM and CMR, and learned CMR had prior commitments and wouldn’t begin work on the project until the end of October while RAM could begin following Labor Day.

While the total of the bids exceeded what was initially budgeted for the project, finance director Jason Hilger indicated there were still sufficient contingency funds in the 2019 budget that could cover the projected overage.

Kayla Houp may be reached via email at [email protected]

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