An agreement between the Delaware County commissioners and the Columbus Department of Public Safety will excuse the county from paying $52,891 per year to communicate with Columbus' public safety radio system.

An agreement between the Delaware County commissioners and the Columbus Department of Public Safety will excuse the county from paying $52,891 per year to communicate with Columbus' public safety radio system.

The county's law enforcement, fire and emergency medical service departments previously had been using Columbus' radio system free of charge, though the city had a payment policy in place, said county public safety systems administrator Patrick Brandt.

After Ramona Patts became Columbus support services administrator, the city last November sent Delaware County a letter charging for the service.

According to the letter, the county would pay the city of Columbus $4.23 per month for an identification code for each county radio, allowing each to communicate with the Columbus system, Brandt said. At 1,042 radios, that totaled $52,891 per year. Since Delaware County uses a 911 levy to fund its radio system, it doesn't charge any fees for outside use. Rather than devising a system of mutual payment, there was no reason to charge each other, Brandt said.

The agreement gives the county free use of the identification necessary to use the radios.

"They need us. We need them," he said.

Patts told ThisWeek she examined all radio agreements to make sure the right users were being charged for the correct usage. Columbus' payment policy for radio system usage has been in place since 1987. Patts said the agreement with Delaware County helps regionalize the radio system and participation in mutual aid.

"I think it's the right thing to do," Patts said.

The county's radio system can be used at least two to four miles outside county limits, Brandt said. Delaware County pays the state $3,500 annually to use the state radio system for emergency backup.

In other news, commissioners renewed their contract with the County Risk Sharing Authority (CORSA) for county liability insurance. The county will pay CORSA $359,902.

Director of administrative services Dawn Huston said this amount decreased by $5,779 from last year, since county losses slightly improved. "Our claims experience along with available loss control incentives allowed Delaware County a decrease in our annual program costs," Huston told ThisWeek. The county's policy year begins May 1.

Commissioners also approved the county's contract with attorneys Downes, Fishel, Hass and Kim LLP. The law firm advises and represents the county and participates in bargaining sessions. Huston said the county has used the firm for many years. Under the agreement, the county will pay the partners $180 per hour and associates $155 per hour. Huston said the partner rate increased $5 from last year. The new rates were in effect Jan. 1 and the contract goes through Dec. 31.

Commissioners also:

Approved a letter of arrangement between the county and the Auditor of State's Office for the annual county audit for 2010. The report is expected to be delivered by about June 15. The county will pay $79,500 for the audit.

Approved an agreement with the Ohio Department of Transportation to install roundabouts at Home Road and state Route 257, and at Home Road and Section Line Road. The Federal Highway Administration will pay for 80 percent of the right of way acquisition and utility relocation costs, estimated to cost $2.2-million. The funding was provided by ODOT and the Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission. The estimated total construction cost is $4.4-million. Construction also is being funded at 80 percent by ODOT. Commissioner Ken O'Brien abstained from the vote, saying he couldn't give individuals who had contacted him about the project a good answer regarding its cost effectiveness.

Approved a $187,818.95 contract with Conie Construction Co. of Columbus for the Oxbow Road bridge replacement.

Approved a $39,500 contract with United Precast Inc. of Mt. Vernon for box culvert supply. United Precast was the only bidder for the project, which initially was estimated at $54,000.

Approved a modification to the contract with CH2M Hill Inc for improvements to Harriott Road. The original Jan. 11, 2010 contract was for $158,693. The new contract is for $217,607. This is second part of the engineering contract. Contracts can be divided as more information becomes available and costs change.

Approved a ditch maintenance petition and assessments for the Meadows at Lewis Center Section 1, Phase A. Drainage improvements will cost $815,259 and will affect 61 lots. Each lot owner will pay an annual maintenance fee of $5.35.

Proclaimed May Motorcycle Awareness Month in the county.