The Lafayette County Board of Supervisors approved the construction of a new communication tower and the borrowing of up to $574,000 to fund the project at their regular meeting held on Tuesday, June 23.
Lafayette County Sheriff Reg Gill explained that the current tower, which is around 200 feet tall, has been in need of replacement for some time, and is beginning to rust on the inside, according to reports from maintenance workers.
The new tower will be built off of the back of the Lafayette County Highway Department building and will be 300 feet tall, providing a 100 foot increase in elevation compared to the old tower.
Gill noted that the new tower will serve fire services, law enforcement, EMS and the highway department and will improve the communication of those organizations throughout the county.
There will also be the opportunity to earn income off of the tower once it has been built, according to Gill. The county will be able to rent out space on the tower for antennas belonging to other companies and organizations that might be interested.
A bid on the project from a Dubuque, Iowa company has been approved, and construction should begin with in the next few weeks, with hopes to have the project completed before winter sets in.
According to the fiscal note on the resolution approving the project, the cost of the borrowing to the county will depend on the actual interest rate and repayment terms, which have yet to be established, but it is estimated that annual principal and interest payments will not exceed $75,000.
The annual debt expenditure for the note will be included in the respective years’ budgets beginning in 2016. Per state statute, the county may exceed the levy limit for amounts levied for payment of general obligation debt service.