Cortland County Awarded $6 Million to Support $16 Million Radio Project
Cortland County has been awarded $6 million dollars to enhance and pay down the county’s $16 million dollar emergency radio project.
The New York State Division of Homeland Security has sent county leaders a letter confirming that the county’s grant application to expand the scope of the original emergency radio project has been fully funded. The money comes from the statewide interoperable communications grant program.
Last June, lawmakers approved a proposal by Deputy Information and Technology Director Jack Hess that included making some changes to the original radio project. Hess said by installing additional equipment on all 8 of the county’s radio towers, joining the southern tier counties in a multi county radio consortium, and by changing programming in the yet to be purchased portable radios, the county could tap into another round of federal grant funding.
Hess’s plan has paid off, the additional equipment and reprogramming of the portable radios with a nationally recognized communication frequency will cost $1.1 million the other $4.9 million can go directly to the county’s $10 million dollar lease for the new radio network, this money comes on top of the $4 million the county already received to defray the lease.
County Legislator Kevin Whitney who has overseen the development of this new radio network and supported the additional grant application says by receiving these funds not only does Cortland County have a better communications network but the burden to taxpayers has been reduced substantially.
With the additional funding County Administrator Martin Murphy says the project cost drops to just under $6 million dollars and will now be paid off sooner, during the recent sales tax negotiations the City of Cortland and the Towns and Villages agreed to give up apportion of their sales tax receipts to help pay down the cost of the new radio system. With additional grant funds the payments from the municipalities should be reduced putting more money back into the local coffers.
This the third grant for the project, in 2010 the county received a $450 thousand dollar award to support engineering and design of the system. The new network is expected to go live in June.