Fri02122016

Last updateSat, 30 Dec 2017 9pm

Carlson excited to join Montross Council

Carlson excited to join Montross Council

New Montross Town Council member Carolyn Carlson was well received by the rest of the group at the D...

Montross Spirit Festival

Montross Spirit Festival

Music and band students from Montross middle and high school perform Christmas music at the Art of C...

Montross Spirit Festival drew happy weekend crowds

Montross Spirit Festival drew happy weekend crowds

The annual Montross Christmas Spirit Festival drew steady and happy weekend crowds as Westmoreland C...

Montross to help decorate Christmas tree at governor’s mansion

Montross to help decorate Christmas tree at governor’s mansion

The Town of Montross is happy to announce its participation in this year’s decorating of the V...

Culver hopes to help generate jobs for residents of Westmoreland County

Culver hopes to help generate jobs for residents of Westmoreland County

A former production manager at The Washington Post, who served on the Westmoreland Board of Supervis...

Lewis sees teacher recruitment as a key to moving schools forward

Richard Leggitt

The newest At-large member of the Westmoreland School Board believes one of the key...

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County will spend $105K on emergency communications

The emergency radio communications system Westmoreland has relied upon since 1999 is in immediate need of a refurbishment and the result is the county supervisors’ Oct. 12 approval of a $105,000 expenditure not listed in the local government’s current operating budget.

The emergency radio communication system used by law enforcement and emergency services relies on communication towers and the Carmel Church unit that serves the county’s lower end now has an electrical back-up unit that has failed. Spare parts cannot be obtained because the

unit’s manufacturer went out of business several years ago.

County Administrator Norm Risavi told the supervisors he had been advised of the problem on Sept. 5, when the facility maintenance provider was making an assessment in order to document expenditures that would be considered in the FY 2012-2013 Westmoreland County budget.

Risavi explained that he was told a Global Position System (GPS) unit had a back-up unit that failed.

“That leaves one unit to serve the Carmel Church site,” Risavi told the board of supervisors. “If that unit fails, the site would cease operating for all sheriff, fire and rescue services.

“These units are approximately 12 years old and are no longer manufactured. Moreover, Motorola switched to a different standard in 2005 and ended repairs of the existing units on June 31, 2011. It is not possible to purchase a new unit to only serve the Carmel Church site and replace the others at a later time. The new technology does not interface with the old technology.”

The obsolescence wasn’t unanticipated. As Risavi explained, the county has $470,895 in a contingency account dedicated exclusively to the budget’s emergency radio communications line item.

Risavi urged the supervisors “to make a quick decision on replacement in order to avoid an interruption in our emergency communications.”

Replacement units for each of the locality’s three towers will be bought. Radios currently in use will not be affected by the introduction of new back-up equipment at the communication towers. Similar upgrades have already been introduced in Essex and King George, Risavi told the members of the Board.

Board of Supervisors Chairman Woody Hynson expressed frustration that a system component was already obsolete. Vice Chairman Darryl Fisher shared Hynson’s frustration but conceded the need to yield to the reality of the period’s rapid technological advances.

“We have to adapt,” said Fisher. “The public’s safety is at stake.”

“And we don’t have a choice,” responded Hynson.

No one disagreed about the urgent need. The Board delivered a unanimous vote authorizing Risavi to immediately purchase electrical back-up units for all three of the county’s emergency communications towers.

Betsy Ficklin

 

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