The Floyd County Commission approved on Tuesday bids totaling $916,416 to replace the phone system with computer-aided dispatch equipment, including new radio consoles, furniture, servers and workstations.
While the system is not worn out, Motorola has said it will no longer be able to service the 8-year-old phone system or provide replacement parts.
County Manager Kevin Poe said the state-of-the-art equipment from South Comm/IPC was chosen after extensive research on the available systems. Joel Howell with Telecommunications Consulting worked with a committee and E911 staffers to pick the best options.
This was $94,000 under budget and the lowest bid overall when you include maintenance and operation costs, Howell said. But the 911 Center employees were really the true test of what these pieces of equipment could do.
The money will come from a $299,400 Homeland Security grant, the E911 Fund and capital funds budgeted for the expense. A failed 2005 special purpose, local option sales tax package would have provided $325,000 for the phone system.
In a related issue, commissioners also told Poe to move forward with a plan to address dead spots in the county where radio signals are weak or nonexistent.
Howell and Scotty Hancock, director of the countys emergency management agency, have mapped out a repeater system of strategically located antennas that would boost the signals coming from the Mount Alto tower.
We think there would be 95 percent coverage for hand-held walkie talkies, and the total cost should be under $200,000, Howell said.
The rejected 2005 SPLOST package also contained $10 million for a new public safety communications system although officials said at the time that an 800 megahertz system could cost as much as $20 million.
Assistant County Manager Sammy Rich said there is no longer a national push to switch to 800 megahertz, although it is likely the whole country will use a uniform system in the future.
As technology is changing, as wireless is developing, there could be another solution, Rich said. This buys us some time until a national system emerges.
Sheriff Tim Burkhalter had been scheduled to present his case for 10 additional deputies during the commissions caucus session, but the meeting was deferred to July 25.