911 board moving forward in P25 system project

Published 2:48 pm Friday, July 29, 2022

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

By Carey Reeder | Staff Writer

The Chilton County 911 Board held a meeting on July 29 to discuss the next steps in the P25 county-wide emergency communications system project and address some other areas on the project.

A resolution for the board to enter negotiations with Motorola, but not exceed $4.2 million, for the phase two part of the project was approved 4-1. Chairman Jimmie Hardee, Chilton County Sheriff John Shearon, Thorsby Mayor Robert Hight and Maplesville Mayor W.C. Hayes voted yes. Butch Billingsley voted no. Clanton Mayor Jeff Mims was absent from the meeting.

Motorola, the service provider for the P25 system, would erect two towers in phase two. The money would come out of the American Rescue Plan Act fund. The P25 system will replace the outdated radios that are used by first responders in Chilton County. The VHF system will remain in place as a backup for the volunteer fire departments.

Discussions about the coverage area the system would provide were brought up such as certain areas in Verbena that have dead zones for first responder radios.

Phase one of the P25 system project put two P25 sites in Chilton County, one on a tower at the Alabama EMA office in Clanton and another on a tower in Maplesville on Highway 82. The four municipalities, Chilton County and the Chilton County Board of Education all signed a 10-year contract to pay for the just over $1 million project. That cost covers the infrastructure, the tower that was erected in phase one and the other P25 site. All four municipalities and the county have paid their yearly portion that was due in February, but the BOE has not.

Terra Scott, the 911 Board director, said the BOE told her they cannot legally pay for the infrastructure portion of the bill. The 911 board is waiting for clarification on whether that is accurate.

The 911 board unanimously approved a resolution to notify the BOE that the $42,600 they owe needs to be paid in full. The BOE has until Sept. 1 to make the payment, or the service to their radios will be terminated. A letter stating this was sent to the BOE on July 29.

Stacey Waldrep from VFIS Insurance company came to present the board with an insurance plan to cover all parts of the P25 system project. The insurance would cover everything in the 911 service including vehicles, 911 equipment and liability insurance for employees. The board had insurance on the 911 vehicle, but not on anything else. Each board member was presented with a packet describing the coverage the company will offer.

The resolution to approve the policy was tabled to the next meeting after the county attorney could look it over.

An app called PSAWARE that Chilton County first responders use to see what is going on in the county at any given time was tweaked. The board changed how departments will get licenses for the program to five sets of licenses for $250 per year.

The change was to alleviate some costs for the licenses for each department.

A resolution to approve this change was approved unanimously.

The Tango Tango application is another app that works as a patch for radios on the two different frequencies to communicate and is a communication device for responders. 911 provides a license to the department to make it work. The price was raised from $60 to $62 for the license. The resolution to approve the change was passed unanimously. Once the P25 system is fully implemented, the Tango Tango application should no longer be needed.