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Minutes 2009-11-19 PDF Print

SE MN Radio Advisory Committee

Meeting Minutes

Thursday, November 19, 2009

1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m.

Rochester Public Utilities

4000 East River Road N.E.

Rochester, MN

 

1)  Meeting was called to order by Chair Darnell at 13:06 Hours.

 

In Attendance:                                                            

Rick Eggert/Dodge County                                          Barb Brewington/Rice/Steele County

Matt Maas/Dodge County                                            Jean Westberg/Rice/Steele County      

Dean Albers/Goodhue County                                     Tim Heroff/City of Rochester

Nate Timm/Goodhue County                                       Paul Bostrack/City of Winona

Doug Ely/Houston County                                           Dave Brand/Winona County                                                   

Scott Yeiter/Houston County                                       Michael Peterson/Winona County                                           

Mark Darnell/Olmsted County (Chair)                         Neale Caflisch/Ancom                                                            

Judy Indrelie/Olmsted County                                     Sid Sanocki/Ancom

Rick Freshwater/Olmsted County                                Wes Webb/Com-Tec                                       

Steve VonWald/Olmsted County                                 Tom Hannon/DPS                                           

Terry Waletzki/Olmsted County                                              Steve Borchardt/State of MN DECN

Kevin Torgerson/Olmsted County HSEM                    Jeff Nelson/PSC Alliance

John Priem/Prairie Island Tribal PD                             Gene Mrozek/Whitewater Wireless

                                                                                    Lee Smith/Whitewater Wireless                                                                                                                                                          

2)  Guest Welcome and Introduction

 

3)  Approval of Agenda

Two additions to agenda:  Item L - Request from Jeff Nelson and the OTC; Item R – Prairie Island Tribal Police returning after last meeting.

Motion by Brand/Albers to approve today’s revised agenda.  Motion carried unanimously.

4)  Approval of Minutes for the October 15, 2009 Meeting:

Heroff said that last month the RAC approved the Freeborn County Participation Plan and wondered how this group could do so without having read it.  He wondered if it would be more accurate to say that it had been “accepted” instead of “approved”.  Darnell replied that it was e-mailed out to members in advance for review and it was available at the last meeting for anyone who wanted to read it, but no one requested to see it.  Heroff asked what the RAC policy will be for handling these plans and felt that the regional OTC should review them before coming to a conclusion.  Darnell stated that the process is that it is approved by the RAC first, then by the RRB, then by the OTC and, finally, is sent to the State for approval.  He added that he didn’t know that we have a local OTC group. 

Borchardt commented that this same discussion took place in South Central with the RAC not feeling that they had sufficient expertise to critique plans.  There is a document created by an engineering firm with a generic listing of components typically found in Participation Plans that they hope to use as a guideline.  Borchardt added that, ultimately, the OTC or MNDOT will say whether or not a Participation Plan is sufficient.   He will provide Darnell with a copy of this document to help evaluate Participation Plans and make sure that the high points have been addressed.

Darnell added that the Freeborn County plan was approved at the last meeting, which Heroff understood.  Heroff still felt that using the word “approved” is a misnomer.  He wasn’t sure what the purpose was to have these plans reviewed and approved by this group.  Darnell said that we can accept this going into the future and can rule on it from there.     

Motion by Heroff/Eggert to approve the October 15, 2009 minutes as written.   Motion carried unanimously.

 

 

5)  Open Issues

a)  Goodhue County Progress Update – Sheriff Dean Albers

Still waiting for action on three towers with a fourth one next year.  Jeff Nelson reported that the ground is broken at Aspen.

 

b)  Freeborn County Progress Update – Mark Darnell

Participation Plan was approved by the RRB and OTC and has been sent to the State.  They are conducting workshops with Commissioners and looking at the system expansion project.  Goal is to sign contract in late November, early December to keep the build-out project moving and they are also researching grants.

 

c)  Rice County Progress Update – Jeff Nelson

Statement of requirements is in to Motorola for the console which is the first phase of the project.  Expect to be back before the RAC with a request for approval of Participation Plan in January with the infrastructure pieces for Rice and Steele County to follow.  Target is to have ARMER connected and console replacement done summer of 2010.  Open the proposal for the console next week.

 

d)  Wabasha County Progress Update

No update given.

 

e)  Winona County Progress Update – Sheriff David Brand

They have chosen a company to do their Participation Plan and are waiting for money to pay for it.

 

f)  Houston County Progress Update – Sheriff Doug Ely / Scott Yeiter

Ely reported that they have four towers up and running and are waiting for a fifth – no land has been acquisitioned for it yet.  Yeiter added that they are waiting for an engineer’s report on the Wisconsin owned tower site.  Tim Lee believes that there won’t be any problem, but need the engineer to confirm that the current tower can handle the added load.  As soon as get that report back, fifth tower site will be up within weeks or months.  Have gone out to the four tower sites using EOC radios on the ARMER system and are yet to find an area incapable of transmitting on portable.  Borchardt asked if any in-building testing had been done in Brownsville.  Yeiter replied that they have not done any in-building testing yet.  Everything has been done from his car.  It doesn’t seem to matter what the signal strength is – everything is clear.  Biggest problem in the County still is in the east around Brownsville.  Yeiter has driven into deep valleys and gone where they don’t even have mobile VHF coverage and have portable coverage – it has been much better than anticipated or propagated.  Borchardt asked if they are still collecting endorsement letters from municipalities.  Yeiter replied that they hope to get these done by year-end, have spoke to the fire departments and City Council members and consensus seems to be that as long as the County is paying for it, everyone is for it. 

 

g)  Fillmore County Progress Update

No progress report given.

 

h)  Steele County Progress Update – Jeff Nelson

Statement of requirements is in to Motorola for the console which is the first phase of the project.  Expect to be back before the RAC with a request for approval of Participation Plan in January with the infrastructure pieces for Rice and Steele County to follow after that.  Target is to have ARMER connected and console replacement done summer of 2010.  Open the proposal for the console next week.

 

i)  Dodge County Progress Update – Matt Maas

They have signed the contract with the company doing the Participation Plan and are moving ahead.

 

j)  State Leadership Meeting (October 26) – Mark Darnell

Quarterly meeting took place in St. Cloud.  52 out of 87 Counties have committed to ARMER with the majority of those not yet committed being located in the north.  12 of those committed are on the system.  Most of Southeast is either on the air or will be shortly.   Build-out is going very well.  Darnell distributed a map of the ARMER backbone sites and reported that he was able to hear Rochester talk when they were in St. Cloud and that he usually can hear them talking wherever he might be in the State. 

Basic training course is progressing.  Instructors draft copy of the course was e-mailed out to everyone and the modules are being developed.  Amount of training has not been decided yet, but will be based on how much you use the radio. 

State radio website now has a grant tab that provides some of Federal guidelines. 

The group is looking at developing a State strategic technology resource for catastrophe communications so they can come in with a transportable tower, cash of radios and be able to have you back on the rather quickly should a disaster occur in your area.  They are working on getting some agreements in place so assets can be strategically placed around the State and determining who will deliver them in the event of a catastrophe. 

Darnell’s breakout group decided to meet more often as a group in 1-2 day sessions to examine State standards, compare them to local needs and come up with a plan that will work for everyone in our region when developing local standards.        

k)  RRB Update (November 9 Meeting) – Mark Darnell

This emergency meeting was called to approve Freeborn County’s Participation Plan so that it could be forwarded to the OTC for approval. 

The RRB asked Darnell to advise the RAC that the RRB meets every other month on the first Monday at 12:30 p.m. at Rochester Public Utilities and they asked that Counties try to meet this deadline to get their plans approved – no more special meetings will be scheduled for this purpose.  The December RRB meeting, however, is outside of the norm in that it has been rescheduled for Monday, (the second Monday), December 14 at 12:30 p.m. at Rochester Public Utilities.

The Freeborn County Commissioner has not been attending RRB meetings regularly and the RRB asked Darnell to write a letter on behalf of the RRB to address this with the County Commissioner Chair and County Administrator and to ask that their participation be more prevalent at future RRB meetings.

 

l)  Request from Jeff Nelson & the OTC – Jeff Nelson

Nelson reported that he was present representing Dakota County with a request that will affect SE.  DCC opened with 21 radio consoles, all connected to Zone 1.  When that was completed, the number of ports for radio consoles that could be plugged into Zone 1 was at capacity.   The facility was built for 23 positions; they always knew that they would light up the last two positions, but that they would have to be connected to a different zone.  They acquired some used equipment that they would like to connect.   There has to be port space allocated in one of the zone controllers to do this.  Because of expected future relationships with Zone 3 agencies, strategy was to connect to the Zone 3 controller in Rochester.  This matter went to the Metropolitan Services Board and the State Radio Board OTC and received conditional approval from both with the caveat that Nelson brings this to the RAC for approval of this permanent arrangement.  Meeting schedule did not allow Nelson to bring this to the RAC first and then to the other groups to have gotten approvals prior to year-end.   Darnell reported that this will probably be an isolated request and recommended approval.

Brewington added that Rice/Steele and Goodhue County would like to use DCC as a backup and this would benefit them greatly vs. spending funds to set up backup locations and keep them updated.

Heroff wondered what SE and South Central would potentially use of Zone 3’s 99 port capacity and was concerned about a shortage.  Freshwater didn’t believe that this could happen in the near future.  Gold Elite consoles, such as are being used at DCC, are no longer available to purchase new and connect differently than the MCC 7500’s being used now. 

Borchardt said that, if the RAC does not approve, it should be addressed at a higher level.  Heroff commented that it would be beneficial if MNDOT could provide projected needs for the Zone 3 controller.  Borchardt suggested sending a letter to the SRB and MNDOT noting the RAC’s approval of this request, but also expressing concern for future expansion.  Nelson felt that the DCC would support this concern. 

Motion by Heroff/Albers to approve Dakota County’s request to have two T1’s allocated on the microwave link that spans from Rosemount to Rochester and to allocate necessary ports on the Zone 3 controller to connect their last two radio consoles with the caveat that the SE MN RAC has expressed concern for future expansion in the Southern Zone.   Motion carried unanimously.

 

OTC Update – Rick Freshwater

At last meeting, MNDOT gave a presentation on current status.  Questions were asked about priority as far as tower sites and how MNDOT delegates where it is going to move its priority to what tower site and when.  It was determined that they have certain phases and that everyone is currently in Phase 6.  MNDOT cannot set a special priority because everyone is now in the same phase and they are promising that they will have all the towers up by 2012.

 

 

 

m)  Grant Update – Judy Indrelie

Handouts provided more details of grants that are available:

  • PSIC Equipment Grant – Grant with match Counties have agreed to pay to be used for radios.   Spreadsheets

included remaining funds available per County.  Grant ends September 30 and Indrelie advised Counties to carry over match into 2010 so that these matching funds are available in their budgets.

  • HSEM Grant - $1M grant.  $101,000 for cross spectrum radios (about one per agency).  Rest is for VHF/UHF ARMER.   Indrelie is waiting for more info from Ron Whitehead after studies are completed as to how this money should be spent.  Brand asked if these funds can be used for Participation Plans.  She replied that these plans should be paid for through Emergency Management grants.  They meet in a couple of weeks and need to vote on this first before they can release it for this purpose.  More details will follow.
  • Breakout Funds – Indrelie divided up funds available to Counties.  Good possibility that Rochester and Olmsted County may not need some of these funds and she will redistribute these funds once she learns what they can be used for.
  • IECGP Grant – Nothing has been used from this grant yet.  Indrelie has e-mailed Ron Whitehead about what else this grant can be used for.  She also asked if this money could be used for Participation Plans and has not received a response back yet.  More details to follow.
  • PSIC Administration Grant – Every County has matched with their portion to support reimbursement for mileage, minute taking and other operational costs.

Indrelie urged everyone to research grants that are not going through the RRB.   2009 grant available that has to be applied for directly through Scott Wiggins; $30,000 available for planning, $175,000 for infrastructure and $40,000 for subscriber equipment.  Grant for ARMER radio stations and control stations ends November 30.

IECGP 2010 Grant has been applied for; set up to work in conjunction with SE Region 1 Emergency Managers.  They have 17 Counties, this group has 12 – submitted applications for the Emergency Managers to apply for to make sure that all of the Counties are covered between the two groups.  One grant is for creating an exercise and testing that Emergency Managers can use to make them more productive.  Other grant is or Talk Group planning and governing protocols in conjunction with the two groups.   $114,000 available for one and $67,000 for the other.  More details will follow in the next month.

Darnell also handed out a planning schedule to reflect approximate amount of time from consultant selection until implementation and training to assist Counties with their planning for applying for grant funds.

 

n)  Interoperability Update / TIC Plan Update – Steve Borchardt

Borchardt stated that in next 36 months in this Region with 11 Counties, right now 1-2 will be partial participants and 7 will be migrating to be full participants; all will need some level of training for all radio users.  Will need “hands on” training for this and this will have to be done in timely manner just prior to when Counties go live.   Cost will be considerable.  IECGP Grant that starts in August 2010 and is good for two years may support most of this training, but Borchardt suggested setting up a training sub-committee to start planning and managing this.

Only two Counties have sent e-mails to Scott Wiggins stating an interest in acquiring PSIC control stations for PSAP’s (Mower and Rice/Steele).  Wiggins needs an e-mail by November 30 stating an interest in this, then need to get a quote for installation of control stations from your vendor by December 31.

 

o)  State Update – Tom Hannon

All Regions finishing up on putting their governance structures in place.  Southeast is the only Region that has not established their Owners Operators Group yet and Hannon stressed importance of getting this group started.  Darnell noted that this will be discussed at this meeting.

 

p)  HSEM Update – Kevin Torgerson

Harry Algyer is still working on gathering data for the TIC Plan.  Lot of discussion about Participation Plans at last meeting.  Some of Emergency Managers have not been involved in this at all and the comment to them was that they need to become more involved and more proactive – a lot of the money is coming through Emergency Management and they need to be involved.  Torgerson advised that anyone who has not heard from their Emergency Manager needs to contact them and make them aware of this. He also urged Counties to have their Emergency Managers attend RAC, RRB and User Group meetings or, at least, share meeting minutes with them.  

Most of the MOU’s and JPA’s that affect this Region are done; are waiting on a couple of Counties to get them signed. 

Waiting on a statewide video conferencing decision.

Borchardt added that Mark Marcy has been hired as the new SE Emergency Management representative. 

Heroff asked about money for video conferencing that might be available for the group that is meeting to develop training protocol.  Torgerson reported that this is held up waiting for MOU and JPA to be finished, then can move forward.  State is looking at video conferencing for entire State separate from using grant funds.  Indrelie added that grants have been applied for both 2008-2009 HS funds; have applied for and have contract back from State on one, but not the other and when she gets them both, will go to the Board for approval.  Waiting for the JPA process to be completed first; money has not been contracted for this yet.

 

q)  Radio Users Group Update – Mike Peterson

Reopened discussion on SE Regional Interoperability Zone at last meeting.  One concern was there was no specific area in Regional Zone for law enforcement only so they re-addressed this issue and passed the SE Regional Interoperability Zone reflecting changes for Law Enforcement, Fire and EMS radios.   Peterson provided a handout of this layout for review.  They will put together the Standard for this reflecting these changes and plan to bring it to the RRB December meeting for approval.

Borchardt added that in the last week, there has been concern from State Patrol and State resources that if every Region has a different zone layout, it could be potentially confusing.  He suggested that this topic may need standardized direction from the State to proceed.  This should be on the December calendar and Borchardt felt that the Radio Users Group may want to put this issue on hold until this is resolved.  Darnell added that this has also been a topic of discussion for the State Patrol.

Users Group discussed possibility of monetary fines for noncompliance with Standards and are working on process of establishing this.

Talked about SE RRB website that is outdated.  Suggested adding an area that would include meeting minutes from RAC, RRB and User Group meetings.

Next meeting is Tuesday, November 24, at the Rochester Work Release Center; they will discuss the SE Regional Interoperability Zone Standard and the interoperability transition plan for radios already in place. 

 

r)  Prairie Island Tribal Police Department – Jon Priem

At last meeting, Prairie Island requested use of a Talk Group to communicate between police and casino security staff and the RAC requested that some directive be given by Goodhue County before making a decision.  Priem spoke to Sheriff Albers and Chief Deputy McNurlin and they were agreeable to this.

Motion by Brand/Eggert to approve use of a Talk Group specifically for communication between Prairie Island Tribal Police Department and Treasure Island Casino security staff.   Motion carried unanimously.

 

6)  New Business

Darnell asked that Counties submit names of individuals to make up the Owners Operators Group – one person + one alternate per County made up of Dispatch supervisors and Managers.   Hannon provided necessary information to get this group started.  As soon as names are received, Darnell will send out a date and time for the first meeting.  The Chair will be elected at that time.  The first meeting will be scheduled during the day and the group will decide when they will meet from that point on.

 

a)  Any New Business for the Good of the Membership

No other new business was brought up for discussion for the good of the membership at this meeting.

 

7)  Adjournment

Motion by Waletzki/Brand to adjourn the meeting.  Motion carried unanimously.   Meeting adjourned at 14:18 Hours.

Next Meeting Dates

Next RAC meeting scheduled for Thursday, December 17, 2009 at 13:00 at Rochester Public Utilities.

Next RRB meeting scheduled for Monday, December 14, 2009 at 12:30 at Rochester Public Utilities.

 

 
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