This is unacceptable and the ruckus that neighbors of the tower site are raising is completely justified.
This is a taxpayer-funded project that some people feel will affect their quality of life and their property values.
They deserve an invitation to ask questions and to hear county officials explain why alternatives, such as the one proposed by the National Park Service, won't work.
It is time to schedule another hearing, with time for questions, answers and explanations.
Even the critics aren't disputing the need for a new system to replace the present one that is more than 30 years old.
After an April 2002 disaster drill at Hagerstown Regional Airport, officials said that due to an insufficient number of frequencies, fire and rescue workers were interfering with each other's transmissions.
But this isn't the first time the project has generated controversy. In February 2006. Commissioner William Wivell complained about the bid process.
At the time, the county was withholding a consultant report on the new system and the names of companies submitting proposals.
We understand that, like certain engineering projects, the expertise of the contractor is just as important as the bid price. This wasn't a proposal to buy a couple of new dump trucks, but a system that could spell the difference between life and death.
We also understand the need not to drag this project out unnecessarily. When then-Sheriff Charles Mades made a pitch for it in 2002, the estimated cost was $10 million.
A year later, the projected cost had jumped up to $12 million to $18 million. Now it will cost $15 million or more.
That's a lot of money, especially when the economy is slowing down and the prices of key commodities - gasoline, heating oil and groceries are increasing.
In this case, "trust us" isn't enough. When the commissioners meet this morning, they should schedule another hearing immediately.