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Upgrade OK’d for Genesee County sheriff’s communications

BATAVIA – The Genesee County Legislature has approved an upgrade of nearly $11 million for the sheriff’s communications system, adding radio towers and enhancing the 911 emergency response system.

The cost to the county will be about $4.2 million financed by a 10-year municipal bond issue. Annual payments will come from an added 1 percent sales tax restricted to debt payment and capital projects.

The system upgrade, scheduled for completion in 2014, will serve through 10 talk channels all the county’s police and fire units as well as emergency response and the Public Works and Highway departments.

The $10.83 million project by the Harrison Corp. of Rochester will put radio transmission towers in the towns of Alabama, Bergen and Darien, adding to those already in use in the towns of Batavia, Pavilion and Pembroke.

Ninety-five percent of the rural county will then be covered with a reconfigured 800 mhz radio system. This should eliminate interference with a Nextel 911 emergency channel.

In other business Wednesday, the legislators:

• Added 15 sheriff’s deputy positions for coverage of concerts at the Darien Lake Performing Arts Center. The park will pay for the added manpower, while the county will continue to provide traffic control.

• Approved a three-year lease at $1 a month to move the Justice for Children Program and Child Advocacy Center from Bank Street to a house at 304 E. Main St. Road owned by First Presbyterian Church. The center hopes to raise funds for a permanent home.

• Extended for one year a contract with Livingston County to house prisoners at a rate of $85 per day. Genesee deals with other counties in case the local jail is full, and Genesee has no provision for female inmates.

• Agreed to lease space at the county’s Engine House as an office for the Friends of Batavia Peace Garden Foundation. The garden is nearby. The foundation will pay $100 a year.