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Upshur County commissioners Kristie Tenney and Terry Cutright at Thursday morning's meeting.

Commission approves bid for dual-band radio project

BUCKHANNON – Upshur County Commissioners on Thursday approved a bid of just over $96,000 from Discount Communications and Electronics for a grant-funded mobile radio project designed to increase first responders’ efficiency.

At their weekly meeting, the commission reviewed bids for the Upshur County Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management LE SIRN Mobile Radio Project.

The commission heard three bids at Thursday morning’s weekly meeting from two companies, Lauttamus Communications and Discount Communications and Electronics.

The project is being paid for with a U.S. Department of Homeland Security grant of $100,000 and will provide 24 new radios for the Buckhannon Police Department and the Upshur County Sheriff’s Department, as well as three vehicular repeaters.

The director of the Upshur County Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management, Brian Shreves, said the project will benefit everyone.

“It’s going to increase the efficiency of all the responders,” Shreves said. “Once we replace the radios in the cruisers, they (the older radios) will be reprogrammed and given to other first responder agencies like our fire departments.”

The bid from Lauttamus Communications was $91,884, along with a note saying there is a monthly maintenance contract available for $553 per month.

Discount Communications and Electronics supplied two different bids with different brands of radios. The first was with the brand Kenwood radios, and that cost would be $70,280 and a recommended but optional addition of $12,522. The second brand was Harris, and its cost amounted to $96,384 with a recommended but optional addition of $2,094.

Both brands of radio are dual band, but they work in different ways. Upshur County E911 Communication Center Director Doyle Cutright explained the Harris-brand radio is two different bands on the same set of channels, while the Kenwood is two different frequencies on two different bands.

“I think the Harris radios will give an officer more ease,” Cutright said. “I think it will be safer for officers to not have to search through channels to get help.”

The additional $2,094 would go toward an upgrade for the vehicular repeater.

Owner of Discount Communications and Electronics Alan Holder said there are two different models of repeaters, the baseline and the better model that allows for multiple channels and more configuration.

Commissioner Terry Cutright motioned to award the bid to Discount Communications and Electronics for the Harris brand radio. Commissioner Kristie Tenney seconded the motion, which passed.

Hinton said the booster station would increase the water pressure at the Industrial Park and that low water pressure has and still is an ongoing problem.

In other county news, Rob Hinton, executive director of the Upshur County Development Authority, requested $90,000 in funds from the county’s Coal Reallocation Fund for a booster station at the Upshur County Industrial Park.

He said for the past couple years they had an engineer working pro bono so there was no cost to the Development Authority, resulting in the UCDA saving nearly $50,000.

Hinton said they had bids for the project in 2016, but around that same time, the tenant in the armory went into default.

“They went into default around the same time the bids came back, and it was too risky to pull the trigger on the station,” Hinton said. “Consequently, we ended up running through a lot of our reserves to keep the organization up and running while we looked for another tenant for the armory.”

He said they have secured $65,000 from the Governor’s Community Participation Program and have applied to a program through the Infrastructure Jobs Development Council where Hinton requested $199,000 for funding.

UCDA Executive Director Rob Hinton

“There is no guarantee that we will get the full $199,000,” Hinton said. “We will get whatever the IJDC board feels is appropriate for this project, but we were advised to ask for our full need.”

Hinton said they are more likely to get a higher level of funding from the program if they receive the funding from the commission.

“One of the selling points for securing any money from IJDC is local participation,” Hinton said. “The county commission participating in the project in some capacity is required as a match to secure an award for additional high IJDC funds.”

Hinton said he hopes to put the project out to bid at the beginning of March and have the bids start coming in at the end of March or beginning of April. He would ideally like to break ground at the beginning of May.

Cutright made a motion to approve Hinton’s request for funding from the county’s Coal Reallocation Fund, which was seconded by Tenney. The motion passed unanimously.

Prior to adjourning, the commission also:

  • Granted Buckhannon Volunteer Center Coordinator Casey Gilbert’s request to use the courthouse annex foyer during the week of March 11- 15 as a drop-off location for donations to support the Feminine Hygiene Drive.
  • Accepted the resignation of Upshur County Sheriff deputy Seth Cutright’s, effective Feb. 16.
  • Accepted E-911 telecommunicator Travis Anderson’s resignation, effective Feb. 18.

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