Washington Evening Journal

Fairfield Ledger   Mt. Pleasant News
Neighbors Growing Together | Aug 21, 2018

Radio equipment on county’s agenda

Jan 29, 2018

By Xiomara Levsen, The JOURNAL


A public hearing and resolution are on the agenda for Tuesday’s supervisors meeting to enter into a general obligation loan agreement to finance purchasing emergency services communication equipment.

The loan agreement would be for no more than $10.5 million, Washington County auditor Dan Widmer told the supervisors at the meeting Jan. 16.

Last fiscal year, the Washington County Communications Commission hired Elert & Associates to do a study on what would be needed to upgrade the Washington County Communications Center. As reported in The Journal, better portable coverage is needed in the county for law enforcement, fire departments and first responders because there are some areas in the county where the current radio coverage is very poor.

Elert & Associates included several options for the communications center, including a minimum of six radio consoles, to upgrade or remodel the new center so it follows FEMA/NFPA guidelines, to move to radios with 800 megahertz of coverage to consolidate with another county. The cost for the upgrade ranged from $4.6 million to $10.4 million. This is without the cost of building a new building for the Washington County Communications Center.

The communications commission discussed the report at its meeting in July. They asked Washington County attorney John Gish if they would need a public bond vote to upgrade the radio equipment and the building. Gish told them they wouldn’t need a public bond vote on the radio equipment, because it was considered essential services. The building wasn’t considered an essential service, so a bond vote would be needed for that.

The communications commission decided to move forward with seeking requests for proposals (RFPs) to upgrade the radio equipment, because it takes almost two years for the equipment to be operational.

Tuesday’s public hearing and resolution to enter into a loan agreement is the next step in moving forward with seeking an RFP for the radio equipment upgrade.

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