County to work with Verizon to keep tower from failing
Lincoln County can partner with Verizon Wireless, which owns the communications tower in Nobleboro, to tap into the mobile company’s large generator during power outages, County Administrator Carrie Kipfer said at the commissioners’ meeting on Sept. 18.
The county leases space on the tower for its communications needs, for 9-1-1, police, fire, and ambulance services. In October 2017, the tower went down because the county’s generator ran out of fuel, and the passage to the tower was blocked by fallen trees and other road issues, Kipfer said. Nobleboro communicates through microwaves with two other towers in Lincoln County, so when Nobleboro failed, three towers were down for the duration.
Verizon agreed to the county’s proposal to use the company’s generator and have the county pay for the connection and use the contractor Verizon uses to make sure everything works properly. Lincoln County would use a small fraction of the available power generation in an emergency, so Verizon was willing to allow the county to tap in for free, Kipfer said. However, the cost for the contractor and the connection hardware is expected to be $5,000. Kipfer received commissioners’ permission to move forward with the plan.
The county has seven communication towers and owns one of them, at Huntoon Hill. Kipfer said if all goes well with the Nobleboro tower, the county may pursue other agreements with other wireless companies on the other towers. She said Jefferson would probably be the next to be considered, since the tower is in a remote location.
Commissioners opened two bids for proposals for environmental consulting on brownfields, in connection with the $200,000 grant Lincoln County Regional Planning Commission obtained to examine brownfield sites countywide. The two bids were from Ransom Consulting, which worked with LCRPC at Mason Station, and Credere Associates. The work does not have to go to the low bidder. Ransom came in at $154,430; Credere, $169,000, which was the outer limit for the project. Commissioners accepted the two bids and gave LCRPC’s Mary Ellen Barnes permission to review them and move forward with the most appropriate bid.
A bid was also opened for a ConnectME broadband grant for planning services for Somerville, Jefferson, Whitefield, Edgecomb, Wiscasset, Westport Island and Dresden. Axiom’s Phase 1 bid was $6,825. It's Phase 2 bid was $31,850. Barnes will review the bid and make sure it meets the county’s needs.
A new sheriff’s department cruiser will be outfitted.
Lt. Rand Maker spoke about a possible supplemental life insurance policy for deputies and other department members, from a company that provides life insurance for military service personnel, called the Armed Forces Benefit Association, doing business with 5 Star Life Insurance Company in Maine and many other states. Commissioners asked for more information about the company. Maker said he would get more and present it at the next meeting.