County sets Jan. 15 as groundbreaking for radio project

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 30 December 2013 at 12:00 am

ALBION Orleans County officials will celebrate the groundbreaking for its new radio and emergency communications system with a 3 p.m. ceremony on Jan. 15 at the Emergency Management Office, 14064 West County House Rd.

The county is building three new radio towers as part of $7.1 million upgrade to the county’s emergency communications system. One will be next to the EMO in Albion.

Another one will be on land owned by the town of Clarendon near its highway garage off Route 31A, and the other will be next to the Medina water tank on Route 31A. Medina and Clarendon both agreed to lease the land to the county at no cost.

Orleans County approved a $5 million deal last year with the Harris Corporation to rebuild the county’s emergency communications systems. Harris is reprogramming 1,100 portable radios and upgrading the dispatch center.

The county’s radio system was last overhauled in 1992. Orleans currently has one transmission tower on Countyhouse Road. That’s about 10 miles from the eastern and western ends of the county. Firefighters, police officers, and other first responders for years have complained that the county’s current radio system is often unreliable, particularly on the edges of the county.

The county was awarded a $2 million state grant towards the project from the state Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services. Orleans has taken out a $4.5 million bond to help finance the costs of the upgraded system.