Legislators to take up emergency communication system upgrade

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The Oneida County Board of Legislators is likely to approve resolutions this week that will advance a major emergency communication system upgrade.

The county is in the midst of a $7.5 million project to standardize frequency and technology among police and fire departments, as well as ambulance service providers. The county’s share could be as much as $4 million.

Before the legislature are agreements regarding radio tower construction to enhance coverage. One property is located off Higby Road in the town of New Hartford and the other off Burrstone Road in Utica. Both were passed by the Public Safety Committee March 1.

The land in Utica is owned by the state and will be conveyed to the county at no cost.

The other agreement is a five-year lease with the New Hartford property owner, Sirish Rao. The first-year’s cost is $7,200. The county has the sole option to renew the lease.

Several radio towers are being added to the system and one will be replaced as part of the project.

In addition, Rome, Utica and New Hartford are getting new equipment. County Executive Anthony J. Picente Jr. said in his State of the County address Thursday that the county has received the first delivery of 485 new public safety radios for the three departments and the Sheriff’s Office, costing $1.6 million.

The county project responds to the need to align public safety radio users throughout the county and create an environment where a user only needs one radio within the county for intra- and interagency communications, as well as interoperability with neighboring counties and state agencies, Emergency Services Director Kevin Revere has said.

The Board of Legislators meets Wednesday at 2 p.m. at the County Office Building in Utica.

Other agenda items include:

-- Approval of a lease between Oneida County Emergency Services and Mercy Flight Central for the use of space on the Florence radio tower. The air medical transport service proposes to place radio communication equipment on the tower. Mercy Flight has a base at the nearby Griffiss International Airport.

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