In a special meeting on Monday, the Union County Council approved the second reading of an ordinance pertaining to a lease purchase agreement with Motorola.
In 2006, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) mandated that all non-federal public safety licensees operating 25 kHz (wideband) radio systems in the VHF and UHF bands must migrate to 12.5 kHz (narrowband) emissions on or before Jan. 1, 2013. When Sheriff David Taylor took office in 2009, he began working toward a transition to narrowband.
Since the transition would reduce radio coverage in Union County by 10-15 percent, county council decided to purchase and install satellite units at the top and bottom of six existing towers throughout the county to provide coverage in 100 percent of the county. The county will also lease/purchase a wireless broadband system designed to transport the incoming transmissions to the main tower site. The county is also negotiating lease pricing on the properties which will contain the satellite receivers.
“This has to be in operation by Jan. 1, or there will be no radio coverage in areas of the county like Carlisle, Lockhart, Cross Keys and Jonesville areas of the county,” Taylor said, explaining that without having the satellite units in place after narrowbanding, neither deputies, fire fighters nor EMS would be able to communicate in those areas.
“We are down to crunch time on this project.”
The lease agreement was approved in an amount not to exceed $805,828. The agreement also allows Union County Supervisor Tommy Sinclair to determine the equipment to be financed under the agreement and the principal amount of the lease agreement if less than authorized by the ordinance, negotiate and approve the applicable interest rate for the lease agreement, determine the principal and interest repayment schedules and the redemption provisions, if any, applicable to the agreement.
“The equipment will enhance the ability of a first responder, a fireman, a police officer, a public works worker and others with a communication need in remote areas of the county to better communicate with their base,” Sinclair said. “The enhancement will increase safety and service for county workers and citizens.”