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Equipment failures slow down Barrow radio program

Costs of $4 million public safety system continue to rise

POSTED: July 13, 2014 12:00 p.m.

A $4 million countywide radio system project has been slowed down because of equipment failures.

Tusa Consulting’s Allen Cutts informed Barrow County Commissioners last week that testing for the narrowbanding project has taken six months.

The system that will provide public safety radios as part of a national plan has been in the works in Barrow County since 2012.

Commissioners voted in February to give $25,000 to Tusa, but at last week’s meeting that number had jumped to $91,000.

Tusa was hired to perform evaluation of the system.

It's the third time the cost has increased.

Some commissioners said last month that they wanted an update on the project before committing to spending an additional $16,000, which brought the total cost from $75,000 to the current number.

Cutts said that the latest coverage test passed, but there remain some issues. When the testing first began equipment failures caused some problems.

"One of the things we noticed right off the bat was that we had to retest the entire county," he said.

There have also been problems with a gap in time between what an officer hears on the street and what the vendor contract states it should be, Cutts said.

Discussion on the system began in 2012. At that time some county leaders and city officials debated how the share of money for the systems would be divided.

In 2012 the county hired Wireless Communications Engineering Services to help assist in the contract work and designation of what the county actually would need.

The debate in 2012 was if it was more beneficial for the county and cities to refinance about $800,000 in SPLOST bonds and split that 60/40 with the cities. County leaders voted to refinance the bonds and purchase the radio systems for the cities while any extra money generated from the refunding would go to the county. The move was expected to save about $1.9 million.

 

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