The Ramsey County Commission took a great deal of time deciding where they would purchase road graders.

The Ramsey County Commission took a great deal of time deciding where they would purchase road graders. Specifications had been outlined and two bidders were in contention, but at Tuesday’s regular meeting only one could emerge victorious.

Both Caterpillar and RDO had representatives present to answer questions and to promote their products. Individual county commissioners had asked blade operators from other counties what their recommendations were.

One of Ramsey County’s blade drivers, Terry Thomson was also present with his recommendations.

In the end the county voted to go with RDO for the three graders needed at this time, four to one with Commissioner Bill Mertens the only commissioner to vote “no.”

The commissioners emphasized how close and competitive the two bids were and how difficult a decision it was to make.

Commissioner Myrna Heisler thanked Kevin Fieldsend for all the work he did to put the specs together and to help the commission make the decision. “I know you put a lot of hours into this and we appreciate it,” she said.

A second topic discussed at length during the Tuesday meeting was courthouse security.

Growing concern about potential problems motivated the commission to form a committee to look into improving security for the building complex. Add to that the issue of failing surveillance cameras inside and on the exterior of the buildings discussed at a couple of previous commission meetings.

Rhonda Allery who heads the Lakes Social Services in the building, is a member of that committee. Allery was in attendance at the meeting and she had some recommendations for the commission although the whole committee had not had the opportunity to meet, yet. It was her opinion, that the equipment that wasn’t working should be repaired and that something should be in place while the committee is working on their report to improve the security for the courthouse.

The commissioners debated the benefits of locking all the doors except the front doors to limit access into the building. They, however, questioned what good that would do if there was no one watching the front door.

Allery reported they had met with NDTC and learned about equipment that was available through them for rent that might be a solution. Craig Harper from NDTC had outlined the options they had for the courthouse’s needs.

One commissioner suggested they look into what other counties were doing. “No one wants to have their taxes explained to them through a security window,” Mertens said but added that the Clerk of Courts on third floor might want that.

In the end they voted to repair what they needed to and could of the equipment they presently have and in the meantime to rent from NDTC cameras to replace those that no longer are working.

The hope is to have something in place rather than wait for something terrible that could happen. “Protecting our employees is important,” Commission Chairman Scott Diseth said.