Bonding of $12.5 million authorized for public safety radio system upgrade
Aug. 23, 2002
Anoka County (Minn.) is moving quickly to develop a new public safety radio system in the county.
The goal is to have the new system under construction by the end of the year and in operation in 2004, according to Anoka County Attorney Robert M.A. Johnson, chairman of the Anoka County Joint Law Enforcement Council.
The 2002 Minnesota Legislature approved special legislation that gives the county authority to bond up to $12.5 million for the project.
The purpose of the upgrade of the county’s public safety radio system, which was installed in 1970, is to achieve more consistent county coverage and a more integrated communications system between various public agencies in the county.
This will require the complete replacement of the present radio system and an upgrade to 800 megahertz and coordination with a proposed statewide system under the auspicies of the Metropolitan Radio Board.
The plan is that with the bonding authority and funding from the radio board, the county will pay for the entire upgrade, including the purchase of radios for all fire departments and law enforcement agencies in the county.
The replacement cost of the radios in the future will be the responsibility of the individual communities.
“This will be an up-to-date, model communications project for the public safety of the county,” said County Commissioner Paul McCarron, chairman of the Anoka County Board’s Public Safety Committee.
The county board Aug. 13 approved two actions that moved forward implementation of the project.
McCarron presented two recommendations from the county’s Public Safety Communications Project Work Group, which were approved by the board.
One was a joint powers agreement for the project between the county and its cities and townships, effective Sept. 1.
“The project is a collaboration between the county and the cities and townships,” McCarron said.
In addition, the board issued a request for proposals for an engineering consultant to work with the Metropolitan Radio Board in the development of the public safety radio system to ensure that it adequately serves Anoka County.
Those proposals are due by the end of August with the county board to select a consultant at its Sept. 10 meeting, said County Attorney Johnson.
At the same time, the county is also planning to move forward with issuance of the bonds for the project, according to Terry Johnson, division manager for finance and central services.
Under the proposed timetable for the bond issue, which Terry Johnson said was tight, the county board is scheduled to set the wheels in motion at its Aug. 27 meeting, with the bond sale being finalized in October and November.
(Copyright 2002, ABC Newspapers. All rights reserved. Republished with permission.)