City Commission Discusses New Radio System Bid

By: Melissa Warren Email
By: Melissa Warren Email

"There's no more helpless feeling than calling for help on the radio, and help doesn't hear you, and you hear nothing really back on the radio," said Johnson.

 

 

Bowling Green and Warren County officials have worked years to purchase a new radio communication system. The purchase is looking more promising after today's city commission work session.

The radio communication system shared by Bowling Green and Warren County is the lifeline for law enforcement, firefighters and first responders.

"It's used on virtually every incident, and it's extremely important at all levels of the organization, especially to the guy on the street," said Bowling Green Fire Department Chief Greg Johnson.

The current radio system dates back to 1997, and has some major flaws, one being a connection that reaches only 50 percent of the county and 78 percent of the city.

"There's no more helpless feeling than calling for help on the radio, and help doesn't hear you, and you hear nothing really back on the radio," said Johnson.

Emergency management officials say the proposed Motorola system would expand that connection to 91 percent of the county and 95 percent of the city. That increased connection would come from adding three new towers of equipment, also reinforcing the system when one tower fails. For the current tower, many of the parts are out of date and irreplaceable.

"A single lightening strike can put you out of business," said Bowling Green Mayor Bruce Wilkerson.

In addition to reliability, the best news today was the reduced price tag from previous bids.

"We've negotiated down from $16.1 million to $7 million, and still have the four tower system," said Wilkerson.

That bid comes following negotiations that emergency management believes result in the lowest price without sacrificing too much of the connection coverage.

"We had to come to a collective agreement of what can we live with, and the 91.4 is much better than the 75 percent," said Bowling Green/ Warren County Emergency Management Director Ronnie Pearson.

Pearson says they will continue seeking options to more costs like partnering with other agencies who may lease tower space, or even using two existing privately owned towers if able.

Mayor Wilkerson says the Bowling Green City Commission and Warren County Fiscal Court will now have to approve the bid in which they will share the cost. After signing a contract, Pearson hopes to start building and shipping equipment by the end of the year, and have the system operational by next July.


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