ELIZABETHTOWN — Essex County is getting ready to buy radios and microwave equipment for its new public-safety radio network.
The county is spending $2.58 million of the $10 million project to pay for Motorola radios, microwave equipment and new communications frequencies.
The new radio system will replace one built in the 1950s with state-of-the-art digital communications for police, fire, emergency medical services and highway departments in the county.
SEEKING MORE MONEY
Most of the money is in a $2 million federal Interoperable Communications Grant, Jaquish said.
“We are applying for a second round of grants. We feel it is prudent to expend this money as soon as we can so that when the (U.S.) Office of Technology reviews our next grant application, they see that we have indeed been spending the money they have given us for the first round.”
He said $1.1 million will go for radios and another $168,000 for a microwave bridge to connect tower sites in the system.
CHANNEL HELD UP
The county is also buying the frequencies for the system, he said, with all but one channel approved for its use by the Federal Communications Commission.
The remaining frequency is in contention because Canadian authorities say it might interfere with one of their emergency radio channels.
Franklin County had the same problem in expanding its public-safety communications system recently and was able to satisfy Canadian concerns only by reducing power and adding more repeater sites.
“We have one frequency that is in contention; all the other frequencies we have secured,” Jaquish said. “This one frequency, though, is one of our channel banks that we need on Little Whiteface (Mountain tower).”
They’d rather not reduce the transmitter power for that one channel because it would have less coverage, he said.
“We are now doing engineering studies to convince Canada that this frequency will not bother them, and we are also talking about lowering the affected radiated power from that site so that it won’t go into Canada.”
VOTE COMING UP
A $580,000 U.S. Department of Justice Community Oriented Policing Services Technology Grant that is part of the total package will be used to buy the frequencies and purchase more subscriber radios, Jaquish said.
Those radios will be used by police departments in the county on the new VHF digital channels.
Spending of the $2.58 million will get a preliminary vote at the County Board of Supervisors Ways and Means session June 25 and a final vote July 2.
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