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Motorola wins $19.3 million contract

June 14, 2006|by TARA REILLY

WASHINGTON COUNTY

The Washington County Commissioners unanimously awarded a $19.3 million contract to Motorola on Tuesday to install a new public safety radio system.

The county says the system will significantly improve communication during emergencies.

The contract was well less than the original $26 million contract proposal, which Public Works Director Gary Rohrer credited to negotiations by a county committee.

The project's total cost, including console furniture, site development and project management and construction inspection expenses, is $21.7 million.

The contract award is contingent upon reaching a Communication Service Agreement with Motorola, according to a written county statement. Rohrer said he expects that agreement, which includes a statement of work and project schedule, to be reached in a day.

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Commissioners Vice President William J. Wivell, who once criticized the negotiating process, said Tuesday he applauded the committee for the lower price.

Wivell in February criticized the commissioners for allowing the committee to move forward with negotiations without knowing the cost of the project.

"You've done a tremendous job," Wivell said Tuesday.

County officials have said a new communications system will improve communication among police, fire and ambulance officials responding to emergencies. The system will replace one that is more than 30 years old and often hampers communications among emergency responders, they said.

The new digital platform system will include the construction of three communications towers, and the purchase of mobile and portable radios and alpha-numeric pagers.

Police and emergency responders have said that a weak radio system causes interference and sometimes fails entirely while crews are responding to calls. The new system would speed up communication and allow police and fire and rescue personnel who are in the field to communicate directly with noncounty agencies, including the Hagerstown Police Department.

The current system does not allow such communication.

Rohrer said the project will take two years.

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