Share this article

print logo

Genesee County Legislature moves ahead on radio system upgrade

BATAVIA – A countywide upgrade of the Genesee County Sheriff’s Office emergency response radio system moved further toward completion this year with resolutions approved Wednesday by the County Legislature.

The $10.8 million digital upgrade, now about two-thirds complete, will standardize equipment used by all first responders and eliminate trouble spots with a new 800-megahertz system.

The Legislature approved a contract with Harris Communications of Rochester to standardize radio equipment among participating county agencies. They include the sheriff, police departments, and highway and public works departments. All pagers will be updated.

The Legislature also approved an inter-agency agreement covering the many users of the digital network, and renewed a lease with USA Mobility Wireless.

The county using funds from the capital project will double the number of radio towers, adding transmission equipment in Alabama, Bergen and Darien. Batavia, Pavilion and Pembroke already have towers.

Sheriff Gary T. Maha said about $6 million has been spent on a project prompted by a nationwide effort to integrate first response systems that sometimes interfere with regular radio signals.

The more comprehensive system has a control channel and 10 talk channels. The changeover extends to the county’s enhanced 911 system. All are now centered in a communications center in the sheriff’s headquarters on the city’s northwestern border.

In other business, legislators:

• Agreed to a $244,000 contract with C&S Engineers of Syracuse to design a new terminal and maintenance hangar at the county airport. It’s part of a $5.5 million improvement to be financed through bonds.

• Voted to provide additional sheriff’s patrols for the villages of Bergen and Oakfield with $32,000 in unspent funds from the village’s current year budgets

• Agreed to spend $9,970 to support the Genesee/Finger Lakes Regional Council, of which the county is a member.

• Approved a $750,000 federal block grant that is to go to the Genesee County Economic Development Center and be used for a mushroom-growing facility in the Genesee Valley Agri-Business Park.