After about two years, Faribault County is finally ready to use the new 800 megahertz radio system at a much lower cost than anticipated.
The system will go into use on Aug. 21 as long as all the testing works out beforehand.
Sheriff Mike Gormley originally came to the Faribault County Board of Commissioners with the news of the upgrade to the 800 megahertz system, and a very high estimate as to the cost of this upgrade.
The county-wide switch which was required to take place before 2013 was originally estimated at around $4.3 million.
However, Gormley noticed other counties looking at grants for the upgrade so he began looking into it as well.
After a lot of hard work and research by Gormley and several others, the total cost to the county will only be $400,000.
"Martin County didn't receive these grants, so they will be making the upgrade without them,"?Gormley adds.
Faribault County now has the equipment it needs and is preparing for the tentative date of Aug. 21 to bring the new system into full use.
According to Gormley, the equipment is currently in the testing process, and has already begun some use with the fire and ambulance departments.
"We did some testing and training with the 800 system compared to the old system,"?he says. "The old system failed miserably."
He is confident the switch is going to go smoothly and the long process to upgrade will be worth it.
"I think this new system is going to be so much better and safer for Faribault County,"?Gormley says.
County Commissioner Tom Warmka was curious as to how the county will go forth with the switch.
"Will you have backup the day you begin using the system?" he asks.
Gormley assured the board of commissioners that they are testing it out to make sure everything works out.
"The equipment is here and being installed, and things have been going really well,"?he says.
As far as the old equipment is concerned, they will be trying to sell what they can.
"We can't sell it to anyone in Minnesota,"?Gormley explains. "We are looking into counties in Iowa and South Dakota."
If all the testing goes well the switch will be made in more than enough time before the mandatory 2013 date.