The Baldwin County Board of Commissioners took a forward-thinking approach by agreeing to enter into a new contract with Motorola officials for state-of-the-art countywide emergency radio equipment as well as new radios for those who work for public safety agencies.
Commissioners voted unanimously last Tuesday night to approve the new contract with the communications company that has provided local service for years.
Dawn Hudson, who serves as assistant county manager, informed commissioners that Motorola had offered the county a three-year deal with zero-percent financing, provided the county enters into a contract with the company by the end of June.
Hudson said the contract was for upgrading its P25 communications system with some enhancements and to upgrade all radios for those in law enforcement, firefighters and personnel affiliated with the county’s Emergency Management Agency.
Prior to commissioners agreeing to a new contract with the company, Hudson provided some background.
In 2011, Baldwin County purchased the Motorola P25 Communications System as well as the radios that are currently is use by those in public safety.
“The useful life of those radios is estimated to be about 10 years, but we’re a little over 12 going on 13 years with these radios,” Hudson said. “We had anticipated having to replace these radios when we developed a budget for the 2023 SPLOST (Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax). So, in conversations that have been had between the Motorola representative, Mr. Parks McIntosh, who is here to answer your questions, and our 911 director, Miss Mandy Ptak, Sheriff (Bill) Massee, our fire chief, (Victor) Young, and our EMA director, (Wayne Johnson), they have developed the project.”
Hudson said she sent each of the commissioners a summary of the proposal.
“We asked for financing arrangements because we knew that this would be a project that would need to begin early in the sales tax,” Hudson said as she led up to the zero-percent proposal that was presented to the county by Motorola if the county signed the contract by the end of June.
She later asked commissioners to approve the resolution to authorize the execution and delivery of the equipment in the lease-purchase agreement authorizing all actions necessary to move such arrangements forward.
Sheriff Massee told commissioners that he and others who work in public safety had a real good meeting with Motorola officials and he feels it’s a real good system for the county.
Emily C. Davis, who serves as chairwoman of the county commission, entertained a question from Commission Henry R. Craig, who also is the newly-elected president of the Georgia Association of County Commissioners (ACCG).
“Miss Ptak, or the Motorola representative, will you describe what new advantages we have from investing in this new system,” Craig asked. “What new does it do for us?”
McIntosh, who is the account representative for Motorola Solutions for Baldwin County, responded to that question.
“We’re actually enhancing the system,” McIntosh said. “We’re completely upgrading the system. Currently, you all have a radio system functions on the Phase 1 version of trunking P25 radio systems. We’re going to something called Dynamic Duo Mode, which is not very technical, but if you’re not in the radio world, it can be quite technical sounding.”
McIntosh said the new enhancements would double the capacity for the number of radios on the current system.
“You’re going from four channels of capacity to eight channels of capacity,” McIntosh said, noting all radios would be upgraded to handle the new capacity increase.
From a county perspective, the new system is going to allow for future growth with operability, Ptak said.
“We have this core that we bought, basically a brain for this radio system, so it’s going to be able to allow us to get our brain up to par to be able to add in other counties so they can join in the system in the hopes of creating true statewide interoperable radio communications,” Ptak said. “What we’re doing now is going to allow our equipment to get to that point.”
Ptak said some of the new radios had been taken out into various areas of the county where they had previous problems.
“They couldn’t get out with anything in critical situations and they worked perfectly,” Ptak said, noting the new radios would serve a great benefit in that manner, too.