Williams County Commissioners Seeking Answer For Ongoing Problem

Williams County is looking into resolving a problem at its East Annex building that jeopardizes the 911 servers.

The commissioners met with Maintenance Supervisor Zac Andres and contractor Dean Beamont to get an update on the situation. While nothing was resolved, one commissioner, Andres, and Beamont each have a source to gain more information.

The county became aware of the situation when Beamont began working on the roof units at the Annex back in March. At the time, the former maintenance supervisor informed Beamont one of the roof top units which cools the Annex had issues dating back to its original installation.

“It involves ( a safety protection device) that keeps the unit from freezing the hot water coils up on the roof,” Beamont said.

The problem is in the internal programming of the unit, Beamont said. The manufacturer is the only entity that can access it and fix it, he said.

A meeting with the installer, Trane, was arranged and the problem area was shown to the company, Beamont said.

The problem is Trane told Andres it would come out and update the software to fix the problem and install anti-hacking devices to prevent access from outside the system. The county’s IT supervisor, Jeremy Suffel told Andres, the system was already protected and did not need Trane’s device.

When Trane’s rep learned of this, he told Andres the county would either have to purchase a service contract or pay for a service call for the company to send a tech out to the fix the problem, Andres said.

Commissioner Brian Davis was incredulous.

“So now because we won’t do that, they won’t change the software that was defective from the time of its installation,” Davis said
Beamont told the board he believes Trane’s motivation is to sell the county a service contract so it can come out for yearly upgrades.

Andres could not tell Davis how much a service call would be, but a service contract can cost around $2,000 a year. A service call could take four or eight hours, he said.

“There’s an hourly rate attached after four hours,” Andres said.

The problem is likely to have existed since the original installation as Beamont has found discarded equipment and obvious signs of previous repair attempts, but the problem persists, he said.

“It’s a pretty good hassle for your guys to go up on that roof and take care of that problem,” Beamont said. “It’s hard for us to know when it goes down.”

Fixing the problem may not affect anyone inside the building, but when it shuts down, the flow of outside air is terminated.

Commissioner Terry Rummel volunteered to talk with Trane and Suffel to figure what got missed and how best to correct the problem.

Beamont declined a possible contract to do the work, saying he didn’t want to create a mess and thought the system is running fine now, with just the one glitch.

Another problem appeared Dec. 16 when Andres told Beamont of a problem he was having with the mini-split unit that controls the 911 area. One of the units in the computer room was failing, Beamont said.

When they went on the roof to check the unit, Beamont noticed the unit with the free stat problem was operating one of the outdoor condenser fans for air conditioning.

“It was two degrees outside,” Beamont said.

He quickly ruled out a mechanical cause and deemed it to be a software issue. The software runs the control board for the unit and the board was sending the command for the air conditioning.

“It was two degrees outside and it was using heat and the fan and it was running one of the outdoor condensing fans,” Beamont said. “It wasn’t trying to run a compressor. This is an indication of a further issue of that software there.

When the unit was installed, it was installed with a type of controller but it couldn’t perform the job completely, so another controller was added, Beamont said. They reported difficulty making the two units work together.

Davis wants a meeting with Trane to discuss the software issues and the second controller. No one is suggesting Trane did anything underhanded by adding the second controller, it’s just not working since it wasn’t part of the original unit.

A third issue is one of the two mini split which had been operating the day before, shut down when the temperature fell below zero. It is rated only to 23 degrees Fahrenheit, unless a wind baffle is installed. The sensor got too cold, but while it has been reset, will be continuing issue for the county.

The 911 room is an interior room and demands cooling, Beamont said.The unit is rated to zero, but the coils are facing the west and the wind and that could play havoc. The building needs a unit that is rated below zero.

Without the cooling in place, the 911 room can get warm and fast.

“It can heat up the room to 90 degrees in 45 minutes,” Suffel said.

Both units now will fail at zero and they are sitting on a roof with no protection. The sensor that controls the unit is in the coil, but cannot be insulated since the coil needs to be able to cool.

Solutions do not include bringing cold air in as once it hits the warmer inside air humidity can gum up the works.

Rummel will talk with Trane and Suffel, while Andres will get a service contract so the prosecutor’s office can review it and Beamont will contact the unit maker (Mitsubishi) and see if there are other options.

In other actions:
The commissioners approved a transfer request by Hillside Country Living from unaccounted funds to Activities and subscriptions and memberships.

The board approved a contract between Jobs and Family Services and Ryan S. Thompson to represent then agency in cases where the staff attorney cannot provide service due to previously being an attorney at the administrative hearing office. The fee will be $55 and the total payment will not exceed $5,000. The contract runs through Dec. 31 and there are two one-year extensions possible.

The commissioners approved an agreement between Maggie Fisher of the Area Office on Aging of Northwestern Ohio for funding for Project Year 2017 for nutrition and non-nutrition supplies. The funding is through the Older Americans Act and is broken down into $108,115 for nutrition (meals at dining sites, nutrition assessment and home delivery) and $59,043.66 for non-nutrition services.

The board approved an agreement between Robin Kemp of Family and Children First and the Four County ADAMhs board for $2,000 for administration.

The commissioners accepted the roster for the Williams County Ohio Public Works Sub-Committee. Members include County Engineer Todd J. Roth, chairman; Lewis Hikert, commission representative; Brian Wieland, city representative; Rusty Goebel, township representative, Ed Kidston, village representative and Tony Hoeffel, other.

James Pruitt may be reached at publisher@thevillagereporter.com

© 2017, James Pruitt. All rights reserved.


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