KPD communications equipment

At Monday’s Board of Water Commissioners meeting, authorization was given to allow Kenosha County to install 4.9 GHz communications equipment on two Kenosha Water Utility elevated tanks that currently have city of Kenosha Police Department (KPD) communications equipment for a trial period not to exceed six months.

Ed St. Peter, general manager of Kenosha’s Water Utility, showed the piece of equipment that would hang in the tanks.  One of thentanks is the 60th Street tower, the 300-foot tower.  “Right now,” he said, “we are in negotiations.  We’re re-looking at the agreement being modified.”

One of the 4.9 GHz units would be used by the Sheriff’s Department, the KPD and the Kenosha Fire Department, and for other county public safety uses.  The other is a 2.8 GHz unit which is owed by the county and leased to a company called Higher Communication, offering broadband access.  This is a commercial venture.  The county is leasing the equipment to them.

St. Peter said they want $2,000/month, and the county is not interested in that.  The county would rather pay about $3/month.  The police are on there now.  Two tanks are free.  The county will test the equipment.  They’ll be placed near the police equipment on the two tanks.  The KPD is in agreement.

The city also uses a 4.9 GHz system.  The plan is to disconnect the city’s 4.9 GHz system and plug into this one to see if it works.  They will then see if the city/county can work together or not.  The request is for six months with no fee during the testing period.  The county will need two years to get it up and running.  It’s working in the county right now.  St. Peter wasn’t sure if they currently had 36 or 63 customers.  The county is leasing the equipment to the vendor.

Alderperson Patrick Juliana asked about combining the 4.9 GHz and the 2.8 GHz system with the city’s 4.9 GHz system.  He also wanted to know what would happen if there was a shutdown of services.  “Do they have to go out and physically switch them?”  The reply was yes.  “Is the Sheriff’s Department up and running now?”  No. “The KPD will know immediately if it works or not.  They will place one or two on each tower,” said St. Peter.

Juliana further questioned about a market analysis.  “No, one was not done,” said St. Peter.  “This is a rental.  The county owns all the equipment.  Higher Communications is a private communications company, like AT&T, or Sprint.  Higher Communications is renting space on the county’s equipment.  They will be doing testing while in negotiations.  They wanted the commission’s authorization while testing.”

Alderperson Scott Gordon asked about timing.  St. Peter’s reply was that they were ready to go now.  “Yesterday,” he said.

The vote was unanimous, 4 to 0, providing the authorization requested.  Both the chairman, Eric Haugaard, and G. John Ruffolo were absent from the meeting.

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