North Fulton Cities Partner to Replace Failing Radio System Used by Police, Fire
Sandy Springs is in partnership with Roswell, Alpharetta, Milton and Johns Creek for a new radio system that would be running by spring.
City officials are close to their goal of obtaining a new radio system. A year ago, the City of Sandy Springs set aside $2 million for a new system. Police Chief Terry Sult has been collaborating with North Fulton police and fire chiefs even longer on a solution to replace the Fulton County radio system they currently use.
It's 20-years-old and failing, said City Manager John McDonough during the work session of the City Council meeting.
“We’ve essentially made the determination that because of public safety reasons, we need to move this [new] system forward now,” he said.
Sandy Springs is in partnership with Roswell, Alpharetta, Milton and Johns Creek for a new $16 million digial radio system that would be running by spring, according to McDonough. The cities created an intergovernmental agreement for a Unified Radio System. They also plan to seek state legislation to create a government authority.
Each city manager is presenting details of the new radio system and the agreement to their respective City Councils for approval by the end of the month.
“Once we sign this agreement, then we can begin doing things contractually as a group,” McDonough said. That would include hiring a project management group that would oversee a separate company hired to build the system.
Last year, Chief Sult told Patch of his concerns with the current system and the risk of communication breakdowns among first responders from various jurisdictions during an emergency.
He said, “If anybody calls us for assistance we will respond and help them. We all cooperate with each other, but if we can’t talk to each other, that really hurts our ability to coordinate resources.”
The five cities had considered partnering on a radio system with the Urban Areas Security Initiative, a federally funded program created after 9/11 to secure major urban areas from terrorist acts. But the agreement would’ve been controlled by Fulton County.
McDonough explained how the cost that each city will for the new radio system is weighted on their population, the radios that each city has and one third of their land mass.
The initial capitalization from each city for a total of $16 million would be as follows:
Johns Creek: $2,756,800
Sandy Springs: $3,915,520
Sandy Springs will manage monthly billing for the radio system to each city through a fiduciary fund overseen by the finance department. Late payments would result in a 5 percent late fee and 6 percent interest charge.