County to allow data to be sent on the drone project

ALPENA – Alpena County commissioner and board Chair Cam Habermehl made a request to the county’s finance committee to do a phone poll that would allow the county to grant permission to consultant Explorer Solutions to release data regarding the drone project to Sea-Tech.

Sea-Tech was hired by the state to handle the filing of the Federal Aviation Administration’s screening information request. The SIR will be combed through by the federal government which will then designate six applicants the Center of Excellence for unmanned testing, training and production.

Habermehl said the Michigan Economic Development Commission had selected Sea-Tech, a consulting firm in Washington, to handle the job of meeting the demands and providing the requested data in the SIR. He said the problem was the company didn’t have any of the data needed and only Explorer Solutions had it from the previous work with the county. Habermehl said the first deadline for data submittal is today and a poll was needed to be sure the timeline was met. Habermehl said if the county didn’t share the information the Center of Excellence project would not go through.

“It is our intellectual property and if we don’t share it with Sea-Tech and we miss the deadlines the project will be dead,” Habermehl said. “There are six deadlines in the request and the final deadline is May 31, so things are going fast now. It is important we do this poll or the whole thing will die. It is imperative we share the information, because there is no possible way Sea-Tech can put together that information in such a short period of time.”

Habermehl said Explorer Solutions also was hired by the MEDC to operate the Center of Excellence if it is acquired, but will not be helping with the SIR.

The poll was done and the motion to allow the release of the needed information from Explorer Solutions to Sea-Tech was passed.

In other business:

* the committee will recommend the full board approve the purchase of 911 workstation computers and a software upgrade for $2,825 and a voice recorder upgrade. There have been issues in how calls into 911 have been recorded and the upgrade will fix the problem. The cost of the upgrade is $2,770.

* the committee agreed to a deal with Merit for the installation of fiber from the M-32/Bagley Street intersection to M-32/Airport Road. The county is splitting the cost of the project with the City of Alpena. The total cost is $112,818 and the county’s portion is $56,409. The installation of the fiber is expected to begin this spring and will provide city and county facilities access to high speed internet.

* the committee will recommend that Undersheriff Terry King be allowed to seek bids for a used truck to be used primarily at the security station at the Alpena Combat Readiness Training Center.

Steve Schulwitz can be reached via e-mail at or by phone at 358-5689.