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Antrim votes to buy new radio system

November 26, 2008|By KATE S. ALEXANDER

GREENCASTLE, Pa. - Antrim Township will not wait for its public safety radios to become obsolete when Franklin County upgrades to a new ultra high frequency system, rather the board will to cash in on an $18,000 manufacturer discount and purchase a new radio system by Dec. 5.

A total of 71 entities who used the county's public safety radio system, including fire companies, ambulance squads, townships, boroughs and police departments, will need to upgrade to be compatible with the new county system.

Antrim Township's longest serving supervisor, James Byers, said the township has planned to upgrade its low-bandwith radios since it learned of the federally mandated change four years ago.

Supervisors voted Tuesday to spend $65,000 for its upgrade, which Byers said will include replacing the radios in every township vehicle.

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Supervisor Rick Baer brought the issue to the board after he learned that if the township did not buy before Dec. 5, it would lose the discount offered by Motorola.

The estimated project cost has fluctuated during the last four years so the board agreed to use Capital Reserve funds to cover any "overrun" not accounted for in the general fund.

County Administrator John Hart said in 2007 the county will spend $5.5 million for its share of the radio system upgrade.

Franklin County Emergency Services Alliance estimated it will cost other entities across the county a total of $5 million to upgrade what it expects to be 34 base radios, 886 portable radios, 700 mobile radios, 818 pagers and 213 encrypted radios for police.

While some county fire and ambulance squads have received state and federal grant money to fund the upgrade, Supervisor and Interim Special Projects Coordinator Fred Young III said Antrim is not likely to see any grant money for the project.

"They will give the grants to volunteer companies before they will give to us," Young said.

Baer said did not know exactly how many pieces Antrim Township will purchase for its $65,000, but its Roadmaster/Utilities Superintendent Paul Minnich has the authority to buy the system as soon as possible.

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