The Regional Advisory Committee (RAC), Owners and Operators Committee, and Users Group are all meeting on Thursday May 20th.

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Southeast Minnesota 800 MHz Regional Board Meeting

Southeast Minnesota 800 MHz Regional Advisory Committee

Meeting Minutes

Wednesday May 30, 2007 11:30 a.m.

Holiday Inn South

Rochester, MN

Attendees: Jim Trihey, Daryl Jensen, Dean Albers, Scott McNurlin, Steve Borchardt, Tim Heroff, Dave Thomson, Joel Hansen, Terry Waletzki, Barb Brewington, Rodney Bartsh, Blaine Hentz, Joe Modjeski, Bob Bilder, Ron Whitehead, Tom Cherney, Tim Lee, Troy Schmidt, Tom Hannon

Tim Heroff:

  • Purpose of meeting is to discuss starting a SE MN Regional Radio Board to address interoperability issues.

  • Regardless of whether agencies are considering 800 MHz, they need to be at the table.

  • We will need to coordinate radio operations between those choosing 800 MHz.

  • We will need to coordinate interoperability with those who choose to stay on VHF.

  • There is a lot of mis-information out there on 800 MHz, and end users need to be educated on the system.

  • Olmsted Co/RPD using it for last 1 1/2 years. It is a good system. Audio is excellent.

  • Coverage is dependent on decisions made in the planning process of tower locations.

  • Olmsted County/Rochester PD, added one tower site to the four that were being built by the State. So they now function off of five sites.

  • Mayo Clinic was also involved in planning, so that radios would work in Mayo facilities.

Tim Lee:

  • Gave presentation on where the state is at with the build out.

  • There are a total of 24 sites either built or in process in Southeast Minnesota.

  • State Patrol does not yet have funding for their fleet

  • State Patrol/Rochester has installed mobiles in their 2150 Station, but mobile installs in the rest of District 2100 are on hold, pending funding decisions.

Goodhue Co Sheriff, Dean Albers:

  • Goodhue County is actively in the process of going to 800 MHz

  • The plan will be presented to their Board on June 19th with a recommendation to go with the ARMER system.

  • Goodhue County plan includes 3 additional tower sites for sure, possibly 4 depending on where the state plants one of the towers.

  • The goal is to join ARMER

Winona County:

  • With assistance from Rochester/Olmsted, Winona County completed a feasibility study.

  • Study was done by Alpha Wireless.

  • Alpha Wireless strongly recommending they go with 800 MHz.

  • Winona County will be taking a good hard look at ARMER based on this study, but cost is still the biggest factor.

Ron Whitehead:

  • Legislation passed, which asserts that the State of MN will fund and build the backbone of the system statewide.

  • There will also be NO operating fees passed on to the local governments.

  • The various phases for statewide implementation have been eliminated.

  • They will build out statewide based on where tower sites are available.

  • State WILL NOT DICTATE. They are taking a collaborative approach to statewide implementation.

  • The Statewide Radio Board equally spans all areas of operation. Cities, counties, police, fire departments, EMS agencies and Regional Radio Boards are represented on the statewide radio board. The SRB is comprised of representatives of both State and local interests.

  • Regional decisions need to be made by regional users. One size is not going to fit all.

  • MN S.S. Chapter 403 allows regional radio boards to accept homeland security funds to assist in funding 800 MHz projects within a region.

  • The objective is interoperability coordination.

  • Regional Boards need to decide what the related issues are, what the alternatives are and what the costs will be for each alternative.

  • There will be grants available to cover planning costs.

  • Agencies/Municipalities will have to give up some level of autonomy.

  • Regional standards must be decided upon.

  • There will be approximately 9.5 million dollars available for the SE MN Region, to be used to pay up to 50% of local enhancement costs.

  • Dept. of Commerce has 1 Billion dollars available nationwide to assist in covering 700-800 MHz equipment.

  • It is estimated that $20 million of this is targeted for MN.

  • Allocation needs to be made by October 31, 2007.

  • 80% of funds will go to locals

  • 20% of funds will go to the State

Sheriff Borchardt:

  • Hurricane Katrina and the shooter in Virginia has raised the bar of public expectations.

  • The grant money applied for by the southeast regional Emergency Management Group for 800 MHz is targeted specifically for Emergency Management.

  • It was part of the 2007 grant process.

Tom Hannon from St. Cloud:

  • The world is run by those that show up!

  • Technology will be the easy part, relationships will be the tough part of designing and rolling out 800 MHz in SE MN.

  • We must have short-term, mid-term and long-term solutions to interoperability.

  • Old models and paradigms don’t work, i.e.: we must include Regional Hospitals and school districts in this system.

  • The JPB agreement in place in St. Cloud area took 18 months to develop and put in place.

  • You must find a way to limit the seats on the JPB Board.

  • We also have 3 non-elected persons on the Board, which was a necessity.

  • Expenses of a regional board will be:

      • Administrative Costs

      • Operational Costs (for enhancements to systems)

      • Capital Expenses

      • Budget is presented by June 30th to the JPB and approved by August 15th.

      • A “no-reply” is considered approval of the budget.

  • Our motto was: Under promise, over deliver.

  • Individuals on the board are a mix of technical, administrative and operational folks.

  • In an effort to reduce the concerns over credibility issues, we should have 1 representative from each group, i.e.: IT, Fire, Law Enforcement, Administration, Elected Officials.

  • Regional Radio Board uses sub-committees to include:

      • Regional Advisory Committee

      • Regional User Committee (need to get a good cross section of all facts of users)

      • Regional Owners & Operators Committee

      • Other Committee’s as appointed by the Board (should consist of management level personnel that actually invest in the infrastructure).

      • Vendors need to be included at the meetings. If you are discussing issues that you would rather not have them at the table for, you need to ask them to leave for those portions of the meeting.

  • The web site for the St. Cloud area Regional Board is:

Tim Heroff:

  • The web site for the Southeast area Regional Board is:

  • Web site is a little “dusty”, but plan to use the site from this point forward to post meeting agendas, minutes and various related information on this site.

  • Whitewater Wireless has not trained their personnel on the 800 MHz system in adequate numbers to support the needs of the region.

  • Olmsted/Rochester utilized Sherry Schmitz extensively. She is the Motorola direct representative for our area.

  • The State of MN will also have a list of certified vendors.

Future Meetings:

  • Group decided easier to hold meetings in Central location of Rochester, rather than spread out hosting the meetings all over southeastern MN.

  • Meetings will occur monthly.

  • Future meetings will be held the 3rd Wednesday of each month in Rochester, at 2:00 pm.

  • Tim Heroff will find a place to hold the next meeting, scheduled for June 20th and will send notification out to all.

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