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Despite rumors of the county’s radio tower project being shut down, the installation of the tower is going ahead as scheduled, Judge-Executive Bill Karrer told those attending Monday morning’s Fiscal Court meeting.
Because plans for the tower came about during a declared state of emergency, some procedures that are otherwise required by law have been waived or expedited, Karrer said.
Karrer said since declaring the emergency with the law enforcement radios, purchasing new digital radios and beginning the construction of a county-owned radio tower, the process has “progressed as expeditiously as possible.”
“When there is a problem that comes about, I must address it,” Karrer said. “...When the city told us no ... that’s when we got into the tower business.”
Karrer expressed the need for the project to move forward and the new radios to be put into action, specifically addressing the county’s emergency sirens, which are best known for sounding during tornado warnings. Those sirens operate on the law enforcement radio channel, and when the radio channel is down, those sirens are down, Karrer said.
Karrer also cited an inquiry from Taylorsville-Spencer County Fire Chief Nathan Nation as to when law enforcement would be moving its communications off of the fire channel.
Nation’s email inquiry, which was forwarded to The Spencer Magnet, stated that not all of the fire department members have pagers, many only have radios.
“This means they hear all the radio traffic,” including traffic from the sheriff’s department and the Taylorsville Police Department, the email said.
Nation suggested perhaps the law communications could switch to the EMS channel if the new radio system wasn’t up and running by the end of the year.
“With EMS having pagers, they could set them to go off when they get toned on an call and not have to hear other radio traffic,” the email said.
Nation reiterated that there was no rush.
“I also understand you have to operate as well, and our system will be here for your use as long as needed,” Nation wrote.
Karrer also addressed the accusation that he destroyed a building permit he applied for through the Planning and Zoning office.
“I don’t think there’s a permit needed, so I got my application back,” Karrer said. “I didn’t destroy a permit, I destroyed the application.”
Karrer said that it could be possible the county would need to have an application on file just so it’s on record with the zoning office where the tower is located and said if that was the case, he would submit one.
Karrer also said he has requested from Planning and Zoning and the building permit office any history and documentation on towers built since 1995.
“If there’s a history and there needs to be a permit, if we need it, we will do that,” Karrer said.
Karrer said the local building inspector, Steve Clark, as well as state building inspector Jim Bozeman, who was on site Friday, pointed him toward the International Building Code, chapter three, section 312.1.
That section reads, “Buildings and structures of an accessory character and miscellaneous structures not classified in any specific occupancy shall be constructed, equipped and maintained to conform to the requirements of this code commensurate with the fire and life hazard incidental to their occupancy.”
That group includes towers.
Karrer said he is still under the impression no permit is needed because there is neither fire or life hazard incidental to the occupancy of the tower because no person will occupy the tower and the metal structure is not a fire hazard.
Karrer also made note that Clark, the local building inspector, requested a letter that would exonerate him from any responsibility to inspect tower after Karrer took back the permit application. Karrer obliged.
“We will finish the project in spite of all the road blocks that continually try to be throw in front of us,” Karrer said.
Contacted Tuesday, Clark said that he was trying to do his job on behalf of the taxpayers.
“I tried to do my due diligence to see that the taxpayers got what they paid for, but was removed from the project,” Clark said.
He declined to comment further.
Contacted by phone, Bozeman said all media requests must be directed through the Kentucky Department of Housing, Building and Construction. Calls to the media contact at that department were not returned as of press time.
In other business:
•Magistrate Jerry Davis announced to the court and to those attending Monday’s meeting that he will be researching a merit board for the sheriff’s department.
“If you have input, let me know,” Davis said.
•The Fiscal Court agreed to send a vote of confidence to support the disc golf course planned at Taylorsville Lake State Park. The court also agreed to mow the disc golf course twice a year, subject to the availability of the county’s mowers.
Davis made the motion including the above, and Magistrate Hobert Judd seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously.