APPLETON – The Outagamie County board approved a resolution Tuesday night to build a backup repeater for the county's tornado sirens.
"Our goal is to still to have it installed in October," said Outagamie County Emergency Management Director Julie Loeffelholz.
The plan to move the project from 2014 to 2013 came in the wake of the August 7th storms when 6 tornadoes touched down in the area.
Loeffelholz has told FOX 11 in the past she did not sound the sirens then because there was no tornado warning from the National Weather Service. She's also said she could not have sounded the sirens that night, regardless, the sole repeater tower lost power and the backup generator was not connected to its fuel line.
Now the county hopes to put a backup repeater at an existing antenna near the waste management site off Highway 441. Loeffelholz told us there will need to be a study done to decide if that is a workable location.
A major sticking point in the plan is the Federal Communications Commission.
"Well we have to look at the FCC licensing there's an indication that we would need a second license for this repeater...it's very much about what radio frequencies are available, what licensing is available," Loeffelholz explained, which means the county might have to wait three months to a year to get that second license from the federal government.
"The obviously disappointing news is that some questions weren't asked on the front end here so we're going to get a repeater, but we'll have to wait to use it," said Public Safety Committee Chair Jim Duncan.
Duncan told us without the license, the county couldn't operate the new repeater.
Still Duncan and the rest of the committee approved spending $55,000 for the study and installation of the second repeater in October.
"We'll do what we can, we'll work with whoever to make sure that we fast-track the project," he explained.
Loeffelholz said a study on a location for the backup repeater could begin within the next few weeks.
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