County approves contract to design $6 million upgrade to emergency radio system

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 28 February 2019 at 4:49 pm

ALBION – Orleans County legislators on Wednesday approved a contract for up to $393,000 to design and provide technical support for a $6 million improvement project with the county’s emergency communications system.

The Legislature hired Tim Warth from Radio Technologies in Rochester to provide project management and technical services for the design and installation of the system.

Orleans County on Nov. 28 was awarded a state grant for $5,897,141 for new 180-foot-tall radio towers in Albion, Lyndonville and Kendall, as well as technology to connect separate radio systems and new radio channels to strengthen communications between multiple jurisdictions and agencies.

The project will also add radio equipment to the Holley water tower to improve coverage in the Holley area.

The project will fund software and other upgrades for the system, which serves firefighters, law enforcement, highway employees, probation and some other municipal workers in the county.

The system currently has poor coverage in the Holley area, along Lake Ontario and some other isolated locations in the county, especially in buildings with thick walls.

The county in August submitted a grant application through the 2018 Statewide Interoperable Communications Targeted Grant through the NYS Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services Office. The state is allowing a maximum of $6 million per county for the grants.

Warth, a consultant for the county with Radio Technologies, said in August that Orleans is one of 10 counties in the state identified as “in need.”

The project will also improve interoperability with neighboring Monroe and Niagara counties, allowing personnel to cross county boundaries and still have a radio signal.

The new tower in Albion will be at the Public Safety Building on Route 31. The site in Kendall hasn’t been determined for the new tower, county officials said. The Lyndonville tower will likely be on West Avenue.

The two new 180-foot-high towers in Lyndonville and Kendall would enhance coverage by the lake, and allow a lower strength signal so Orleans isn’t interfering with Canada’s system.

The county currently has towers in Shelby on Maple Ridge Road by the Medina water tank, on Countyhouse Road in Albion by the Emergency Management Office and on Route 31A by the Clarendon Highway garage.

When the upgrades are complete with the grant, the county may pursue another grant to add a tower in Carlton by the town highway building on Route 98.

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