CRESTVIEW – Okaloosa County officials plan to issue a request for proposals to banks that will compete for the right to loan the county $ 20 million projected to replace inadequate emergency services communications equipment.

The plan received unanimous approval from the county commission on Tuesday. County officials intend to repay the loan with sales tax revenue of half a cent as a local option.

The purpose of the County Emergency Services Communication System is to provide communication between various agencies such as the sheriff’s office, emergency medical services, corrections and emergency management, Commissioner Graham said. Fountain.

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But “the current system has become obsolete,” he said, adding that having fully functioning communications equipment is just as crucial as paying county employees.

Updating the county-wide communications system with the latest technology and range enhancements will include the installation of a new public safety land mobile radio system, according to county information. The radio system includes radio base stations, antennas, cabling, and at least one communications tower.

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“You have gaps in the coverage of this area,” said county administrator John Hofstad. “Having a robust communications system in the county has been the number one public safety issue. “

Including the cost of issuance and an anticipated interest rate of 3%, the county would be responsible for a total borrowing debt of just over $ 23 million.

Loan proposals from banks that meet the RFP are due August 14, and an institution recommended by county staff could be ready for commission approval in November.

In response to a question from Commissioner Carolyn Ketchel, the county’s deputy operations administrator Craig Coffey said the new communications system could remain viable for at least 15 years and possibly up to 25 years.

In addition, on Tuesday, the committee unanimously agreed to permanently authorize the sale of alcoholic beverages between 7 a.m. and 4 a.m. the next morning, every day of the week, in shops in unincorporated sectors.

Based on a suggestion from Ketchel, these hours were temporarily put in place in early May for the benefit of older people who shopped at stores offering very early and reserved for older people buying times in light of the coronavirus crisis.

The county’s previous start times for the sale of alcoholic beverages were 8 a.m. Monday through Saturday and 1 p.m. Sunday.

The now permanent schedules are more in line with those set by most of the county’s large municipalities.

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