August 9 Bond Vote on Communications System

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Thursday August 04, 2016

Fire Chief Doug Brent and Police Chief Trevor Whipple came before the city council in late June to address the need for a communications system upgrade for the city. They explained that the replacement of aging and outdated equipment is necessary and urgent. An article bonding for $1.9 million was placed on the August 9 ballot. At the August 1 council meeting, a public hearing was held to summarize the request and answer any questions from the public or councilors.

The equipment currently used across the city’s departments is thirteen years old and parts for repairs are becoming obsolete and are expensive and difficult to find. The fire department’s systems are currently all analog and the police department is using a first generation digital system from 2003. Their safety system is designed around 1 transmission site and 6 sets of “ears” throughout the city to transmit information. With the recommended upgrade, there will not be a need to re-engineer these sites, as the design of the system is sound. New hardware would essentially be used to replace the outdated equipment in the exact same locations.

The new system is projected to last fifteen years. The system upgrade will also create a disaster recovery plan for the city whereby if the police station or city hall were flooded, for example, each department could be up and running within an hour utilizing a new fiber connection between the police department and City Hall. This would be achieved by allocating $130,000 of the $1.9 million to establish a storage area network storage (SAN), installation of switches, firewalls, and a router.

The 10 year bond, if approved by the voters on August 9, authorizes spending up to 1.9 million for new communications equipment. The annual cost, based on average property values is $16.50 for a condo, and $26.72 for a house.

SOURCE: Corey Burdick, Correspondent