NEBRASKA CITY – Jonathan Vodicka of the Otoe County Mutual Aid Association told county commissioners Tuesday that a $2.5 million rebuild of the emergency communications system is on tap for the county sometime over the next three years.

He expects the replacement of communications equipment on broadcast towers, as well as computers and cabling, to cost $1.2 million. The estimated cost to replace end-user equipment and radios is $1.3 million.

Vodicka said the communications system was installed in 2003 and is ending its life span. He said there are spots where the communication signal has lost strength and the entire system is trending toward dysfunction.

The system is used by emergency responders, including the federal Emergency Management Agency and fire and rescue from Nebraska City, Syracuse, Unadilla, Talmage, Burr, Dunbar and Palmyra.



Commissioner Chuck Cole volunteered to serve on a committee with the county Mutual Aid Association and sheriff to explore options.

EMA Director Gregg Goebel said the committee could look into the possibility of bonding authority. He said he does not expect any large-scale grants like those that followed the Sept. 21, 2001 terror attacks.

Vodicka said the fire and rescue departments are using whatever revenue they currently have just to maintain their operations. He said the agencies may be able to replace radios, but the association is asking the county to replace the infrastructure.