Radio system in the works
Nov. 4, 2002
OLD SAYBROOK, Conn. — First Selectman Michael Pace says he wants to get going soon on a long-sought capital improvement project — a new emergency communications system.
The plan, which has been in development for about two years, would replace current municipal communications systems with a state-of-the-art system integrating police, fire, public works, the ambulance service and the schools.
Linking all the agencies through one system will allow better coordination in responding to emergencies, he said.
In addition, the antenna behind police headquarters would be replaced with a taller antenna to eliminate “dead spots” in town, Pace said. Police cruisers and other emergency vehicles would be equipped with new radios.
Pace said the estimated cost of the new system is about $500,000 and that $280,000 already has been set aside. He said he intends to discuss the plan with the Board of Finance, and that he hopes to get it out to bid early next year.
Officer Mike Gardner, who has been leading the communications system planning effort for the Police Department, couldn’t be reached for comment.
The proposed communications system represents another step in a long-term capital improvement program for municipal buildings and equipment, which Pace said he wants to carry out with a minimum of long-term debt by paying cash.
The firehouse was renovated in 2001 and the expansion of the Acton Library is nearly complete.
Work should be completed soon on a two-room addition to the Goodwin School, and the Finance Board this week approved $30,000 to enlarge the school library.
Nearly $1 million in budget surplus was applied to the firehouse and library projects while the $279,000 spent on Goodwin all came from town coffers.
The most ambitious project yet, and the most expensive, is yet to get under way.
A $7.8 million conversion of the old Main Street School into town offices and a recreation center can move to the bidding stage as soon as the Zoning Commission completes its review of the plan. The commission last week continued a public hearing on the plan to next month.
Pace said he would like to seek construction bids by January to take advantage of what he sees as a soft market for large construction projects and low borrowing interest rates, which the Federal Reserve could take even lower next month.
He said he is confident the cost could end up several hundred thousand dollars lower than the $7.8 million estimate.
The state Bond Commission last week approved a $500,000 grant to the town for the project.
© New Haven Register 2002. All rights reserved. Republished with permission.