Cost of tower up in the air

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Officials await word on second grant to help offset price for county

The Denton County Sheriff’s Office is getting an observation tower, but just how much the county will have to pay is up in the air.

Denton County commissioners accepted a $25,000 grant from the CoServ Charitable Foundation to help fund the SkyWatch mobile observation tower, far short of the $91,609 applied for by the county.

Officials are awaiting word on a second grant application to know just how much of the remaining costs Denton County may have to pay.

“They asked for more from CoServ but were awarded the $25,000. There is still the other grant application out there to be considered,” said Donna Stewart, Denton County budget director.

The other grant is the Justice Assistance Grant, which the county applied for in February.

“Once we hear from that, if we got it or not, we know how to proceed,” Stewart said. “Regardless, the balance will be picked up with sheriff forfeiture funds.”

The total cost of the tower and equipment is estimated at $91,609.

According to a memo to the Commissioners Court, the SkyWatch Sentinel model costs $73,171, and a four-camera all-weather day/night surveillance system costs $18,438. Any additional expenses would be determined at the point of award and paid with existing funds and/or sheriff forfeiture funds.

The addition of a surveillance tower will allow the Sheriff’s Office to provide a visible deterrent and conspicuous law enforcement presence at events including the annual Denton Arts & Jazz Fest and the North Texas Fair and Rodeo, according to the memo.

Denton County Sheriff William Travis did not offer comment, although his office did put out a news release that noted the $25,000 award and stated that the tower is expected to be operational by the holiday season this year.

BJ LEWIS can be reached at 940-566-6875 and via Twitter at @BjlewisDRC.


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