Essex County supervisors approve new public-safety radio system in 16-2 vote
The Essex County Board of Supervisors voted 16 to 2 on Monday to approve an up-to-$10 million new public-safety radio system.
County Manager Dan Palmer said he expects the new “high band” system to cost about $9 million. The current system was put in place in the 1950s and needs to be replaced, he said.
“The low-band tends to get a lot of interference,” he said. “It’s way past its prime.”
Palmer said the new system will take about two years to put in place, after the county completes the civil engineering and acquires Adirondack Park Agency permits.
“Overall there are, like, 10 tower sites,” Palmer said. “We are not proposing any new tower sites, but we have to put up new towers.”
Lake Placid Fire Chief Brad Jacques said his department is already operating on a high-band system, but that a new county-wide system will be a welcome addition.
“It’s definitely going to be a positive thing for the emergency services,” Jacques said. “There are some towns that have extremely poor coverage. Lake Placid has just been pro-active.”
The new system will require some additional equipment for the department, which will be purchased by the county, Jacques said. Jacques said the new system will be especially useful when the department gets mutual aid calls.
“We will be able to operate on one channel and have communication with everyone,” he said. “It may enhance our coverage.”
Moriah town Supervisor Tom Scozzafava and North Elba town Supervisor Roby Politi voted no to the measure.
“I think these are extreme economic times and I think it sends the wrong message to the taxpayers to spend $10 million,” Politi said. “If the economic climate was better, I don’t think anyone would be against the concept of having better emergency services in our county. I don’t think it’s wise to be doing it.”