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BLOOMINGTON — A statewide police radio system that county officials say clears up years of crackles and transmission dead spots for sheriff's deputies received final approval Tuesday from the McLean County Board.

Also, the cost of living at the county's nursing home will increase, as will the cost for certified copies of birth, marriage and death certificates.

The board approved the $2.9 million contract and user agreement with Motorola for its Starcom 21 radio system.

The radio system replaces the EF Johnson radio system adopted in the mid-1990s. Police and fire agencies often criticized the EF Johnson radio system because of poor reception and frequently dropped signals.

County Board member Tari Renner said the agreement paves the way for the county to be 95 percent covered by Starcom.

The contract includes the purchase and installation of Starcom consoles at Metcom, the countywide emergency dispatching system.

"This will provide us with great coverage and a better quality of signal," Renner said.

In addition to the McLean County Sheriff's Department, the town of Normal's police and fire departments will be on the Starcom system. The city of Bloomington, which chose to leave Metcom, will not use the Starcom system and equipment.

Illinois State Police will be on the Starcom system, which allows users to monitor and talk with any other agency on the statewide system.

Three-quarters of the cost of the system is paid for by federal money.

In other business, the board approved raising the private-pay rate of the non-Medicare-certified section at the county nursing home to $123 a day. The previous rate was $119.

The rate for the Medicare-certified section remains at $150 a day.

It also will cost more to receive certified copies of birth, marriage and death certificates. Previously it cost $10 per copy of birth and marriage certificates and $8 for death certificates. The rates will now be $12 for the first copy of each certificate and $6 for additional copies of the same record.

County Board Vice Chairman Matt Sorensen estimated the increase in costs will generate about $10,000 to $15,000 a year in additional fees. The increase, however, still does not cover the estimated $20 to $25 cost to provide those records.


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