The Jamestown Department of Public Works, Jamestown Police Department and Jamestown Fire Department will update their radio systems as soon as possible.
During Monday's Public Safety Committee meeting, Harry Snellings, Jamestown police chief, spoke about updating the radio system to meet Federal Communications Commission regulations by Jan. 1.
"I had a conversation with (Sheriff Joseph Gerace) last Wednesday, and he verified that we are going to VHF digital (radios)," Snellings said. "DPW, fire and police combined, we are looking at $527,159 with a possible additional expenditure of $40,000 for a tower. In my conversation with the sheriff, he did allude to the fact that he is pursuing some grant funding, which is great, however we do kind of need to move on this."
The sheriff is applying for a state grant, but Snellings said he doesn't know if the city will receive any money.
Snellings recently met with Mayor Sam Teresi to discuss the radio system updates. He said Teresi wanted him to introduce the radio update to City Council in order to give it an idea of the cost.
"I think we should be prepared, get ahead of this, get our equipment, because we can still be set up, flip a switch and we will be prepared for (the update) to happen," Snellings said.
While the police department will be using VHF digital radios, the fire department has discussed using UHF radios. The two units will be able to communicate with one another while using the different systems, but Snellings said it is still unclear what the FCC expectations are regarding the update. He did say the fire department radios desperately need to be updated.
"The fire department has probably the most antiquated communication systems in this county. Our firefighters often times can't communicate with each other on a fire scene within a building," Snellings said.
Gerace and Snellings have looked over the available equipment, Snellings said, and have selected the least expensive replacements. This includes portable radios priced at roughly $1,500 each instead of different radios that would cost around $3,000 each.
"The way that we are approaching this is to do it as a group project. It is all state bid, so it's not really an issue as a local venue," Snellings said, regarding the cost of the update.
Frank Buttafarro, account executive for Eagle Radio Technologies, said the update could take up to four months by the time all of the equipment comes in and is operating.
Committee members agreed to discuss the update further and bring it to the entire City Council at its August voting session. Snellings said this will hopefully give the departments extra time to receive information from the Sheriff's Department.
"That would give us a little bit more time to see if there is any more direction, financially, from the sheriff. As far as the system goes, we know where we're going," Snellings said.