County supervisors approve contract for communications

JOHNSTOWN — Fulton County supervisors recently approved a proposed $188,734 contract with a Texas firm to improve communications between two towers that the county utilizes.

The Board of Supervisors’ Public Safety Committee gave preliminary approval to enter into an agreement with Lightspeed/Nokia of Plano, Tex. for microwave connectivity and backhaul between the Latimer Hill and Aney Hill communication tower sites. The full board will vote on the $188,734 contract — a state reimbursement cost — at its meeting Monday at the County Office Building.

A request for the contract was made by county Emergency Management Office Director Steven Santa Maria.

“This is part of our VHF Simulcast Project,” he told the committee. “This is the microwave component of it.”

The Board of Supervisors in 2018 accepted a $471,118 state Division of Homeland Security Interoperable Communications Grant. Funding for the work by Lightspeed/Nokia will come from that funding.

Elsewhere in Santa Maria’s report to the committee:

∫ He requested a $5,555 budget amendment, permission to utilize Homeland Security Grant funds to purchase LED monitors and educational materials. Santa Maria said that included in the grant is funding for closed-circuit TV system equipment. The state has approved the project and will reimburse Fulton County.

Santa Maria said funding will go to $3,555 worth of two Sansung LED display monitors; and $2,000 for pens, pencils, magnets, “go bags,” and informational brochures. He expressed a hope the public is using the Emergency Management Office app.

“I certainly hope so,” he said. “There’s a ton of preparedness information in there.”

∫ Santa Maria received a preliminary approval to use $401 in grant funding to purchase five remote speaker mics for use with portable radios used for interoperable communication frequencies.

∫ Another $1,915 in state funds was recommended for purchases, including two network video decoders, one PC and one charger.

∫ On the VHF Simulcast Project, Santa Maria expressed hop it will be wrapped up by next year.

“I’m cautiously optimistic we’ll be able to get this project done by the end of the year,” he said.

But he also said the project may not be done until early 2020.

Santa Maria noted a new EMS coordinator will start next Monday in his office. Supervisors briefly discussed if it was feasible for the county to take over ambulance service, with Santa Maria stating: “It’s ultimately your decision.”

Michael Anich covers Johnstown and Fulton County news. He can be reached at manich@leaderherald.com.