OTTUMWA — New communications equipment will soon sit atop the Memorial Park water tower.
At its meeting Tuesday night, the City Council approved the emergency purchase of new radios, antennas and related equipment to be secured on the water tower.
After lightning struck the tower a month ago, the equipment used to communicate with the city's pump stations was damaged.
While Councilman Mitch Niner had concerns that the auto dialers were "going off wrongly because they're sharing frequencies so close to others," Public Works Director Larry Seals said he's not sure that's the case.
"Are we going to go on a separate frequency now with the new radios or are we going to continue to fight what we're fighting?" Niner asked.
Seals said it's not so much a frequency issue as it is a "line of sight" issue. He said sharing frequencies with other entities was not a problem when the equipment was purchased.
The council also approved plans to construct a wildlife fence at Ottumwa Regional Airport. Crews will construct a 10-foot chain-link fence to help keep deer out of the area.
While the entire project is estimated to cost nearly $914,000, a Federal Aviation Administration grant will reimburse the city for 90 percent of the project cost.
"In 2010, the USDA was hired to do a wildlife hazard assessment and determined that a 10-foot fence with a three-strain barbed wire was the best remedy for deer," said Dustin Leo, civil engineer at Snyder and Associates. "When it comes to the cost of the fence, most of the cost is in the labor of installing it rather than the cost of the fence."
The City Council also approved the contracts for two school resource officers at Ottumwa High School and one at Evans Middle School.