Ford board takes steps to fight lightning strikes on radio tower
PAXTON — A radio tower next to the Ford County Courthouse will be upgraded this summer to keep lightning strikes from affecting the courthouse and nearby Ford County Jail.
The tower, located on the courthouse's east side, has frequently been hit by lightning in recent years, including twice last month, Sheriff Mark Doran said. Because of a "grounding issue" in the tower, Doran said, the lightning is often sent into the two nearby Ford County facilities, causing damage and "thousands of dollars" in insurance claims each time that occurs.
The Ford County Board's finance committee authorized Doran earlier this month to pay an estimated $7,786 to Hi-Tech Towers of Gibson City to install a lightning rod and crossover bar on the tower and to weld the tower's cables going into the ground.
The upgrades should "allow lightning to travel through all of the legs of the tower and into the grounding spiral that's under the ground so that it disperses it through a wider area instead of going through the courthouse," Doran said.
"Obviously with lightning, it's very unpredictable, but this should help some of our issues that we've been having," Doran said.
The work will be funded out of a line item in the county board's budget, he added.
— In other business: Treasurer Judy Hastings said her office distributed $12.53 million in property tax revenue to the various taxing districts in Ford County on June 19.