Who will Pay for Dane Co. Emergency Radio?

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Posted by madcityradio.com on February 03, 2010 at 11:58:36:

A group of Dane County Board Supervisors has introduced a resolution calling for a cost-sharing methodology for the county�s new emergency radio system. This approach is endorsed by the Dane County Fire Chief�s Association and is similar to one proposed by the Dane County Cities and Villages Association.

"Our resolution endorses the DCCVA�s reasonable proposal that distributes costs fairly, ensures all interested have a voice at the table, and most importantly, gets us closer to providing a radio system that lets our first responders talk across jurisdictions and get help where it is needed when it is needed," said Sup. Patrick Miles.

Under current plans, the county will spend $30 million to purchase the equipment and technology to establish an interoperable radio communication system. That system will allow all local governments in Dane County to communicate on the same emergency radio channels. Under the funding proposal, the county and local governments would share the ongoing costs of operating and maintaining the system, which will be operated by the county�s Public Safety Communications Center (911 center).

"The Dane County Fire Chiefs fully support the efforts of the County Board to move this critical public safety initiative forward, and appreciates the efforts of the supervisors who have worked so hard to keep this project moving forward" said Dane County Fire Chief's Association President Marty Lamers. �The new radio system will support our first responders on every call, every day, for at least the next 20 years. It is imperative we get the system right from the beginning as it relates to improving interoperability, improving capacity, and improving coverage for both the City of Madison and county users whose lives can depend on it."

The proposal provides for a phased-in cost sharing system over a four year period. Annual financial audits would be conducted to set the actual payment amounts.

�We want to guarantee local governments a place at the table for ongoing policy decisions,� said Supervisor Hesselbein. �The proposal includes a new governing board for the emergency radio system with representatives from the county, the cities, villages and towns, and emergency services personnel.�
The governance structure and cost sharing methodology would be contained in intergovernmental agreements between the county and the municipal partners.

�Two very important parts of this resolution are support for the tactical analog sub-system and maintaining current 800 MHz capacity� said Supervisor Melanie Hampton. The analog sub-system would allow for communication between all responders at an emergency scene, as well as with the 911 center. Maintaining the 800 MHz capacity retains the current number of channels and the hardware to operate them so the system has the capacity it would need to operate in a long duration disaster or emergency situation.

�This proposal ensures that all citizens in Dane County will have access to a first-class 911 system,� said Supervisor Denise Duranczyk.

The proposal is included in County Board Resolution 233, 2009-2010, which will be heard by county committees next week, and is expected to be acted on by the full County Board in March. Other County Supervisors who are co-sponsors of the resolution are Bob Salov (Cambridge), Jeremy Levin (Madison), Wyndham Manning (Madison) and Cynda Solberg (Cottage Grove).

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