Communications and Technology Bond Slated for August Ballot

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Thursday June 23, 2016

Technology is constantly changing and evolving which unfortunately requires frequent, and often expensive, upgrades. These upgrades are particularly important where public safety is concerned. The need for effective communications and technology equipment is critical to the operation of our police, fire, and public works departments.

At the June 20 city council meeting, Fire Chief Doug Brent and Police Chief Trevor Whipple presented their need for upgraded equipment. The equipment they use currently is thirteen years old and parts to repair it are no longer available. Their safety system is designed around 1 transmission site and 6 sets of “ears” around the city to transmit information. The good news is that with the recommended upgrade, there will not be a need to re-engineer these sites.

The fire department’s systems are currently all analog and the police department is using a first generation digital system from 2003. Brent acknowledged, “planned obsolescence has become too common.”

A bond of $1.9 million will be proposed to the voters at a special meeting August 9. City Manager Tom Hubbard said it made more sense to fund the expense in this way since it would be tough to pay for out of the general fund. Hubbard also pointed out that should City Hall be flooded, for example, the staff currently doesn’t have an option of going to another location where it can operate all of its services. This technology and communications upgrade would allow for that, by allocating $130,000 of the $1.9 million to establishing storage area network storage (SAN), installation of switches, firewalls, and a router.

City Manager Kevin Dorn thought it would be prudent to put the bond vote out in August. Dorn said, “We did not anticipate the failure of the primary system at this point, the fact that we’re running on backup systems now, provided the impetus to get this going.”

SOURCE: Corey Burdick, Correspondent