By MORGAN FRISCH
Recorder News Staff
FONDA — Montgomery County Legislators passed a resolution Tuesday that will move forward the on-going radio project to increase communication between emergency responder agencies.
The full board voted to authorize an addendum to a current tower license agreement with Crown Atlantic Company LLC. The company owns the radio tower on Sanders Road in the town of Minden. Montgomery County Emergency Management Director Jeff Smith said it is the last tower for necessary completion of the antenna work for the new frequencies.
The project was previously approved in the county’s capital improvement projects and will allow emergency responders throughout the county to communicate on one radio wavelength.
The cost of the license and use of the license space is increasing for the additional equipment being installed. Smith said the agreement will allow the radio company to install new antennas and remove the old equipment currently in place. He said after working with the company to decrease the costs he was able to save the county $100 per month.
“We are taking two antennas off the current tower and we are putting three back up, so the increase in the fee is for that third antenna and that is essential to the western part of the county,” he said.
Smith said the tower affects radio communications in St. Johnsville, Fort Plain, Canajoharie, south Minden and Palatine.
The financial impact will be an increase of $400 per month at a total cost of $1,200. Smith said he should be able to handle the increase without requesting any further funds.
Smith said they are near the end stages of completing the radio project and he is hopeful to move forward with the implementation of the new radios soon.
Legislators also passed a resolution authorizing County Executive Matthew Ossenfort to sign a rent agreement with the village of Nelliston to continue using the village’s office building as substation for the county sheriff’s office.
The village offered the free use of space in April 2015, but now is seeking to enter into an agreement with the sheriff’s office for $100 per month.
Sheriff Michael Amato received a letter from the village’s attorney stating the request.
According to the letter, the village constructed a room within its office building to provide the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office a convenient base of operation and/or dispatch in exchange for having police presence within its borders. Besides allowing the sheriff’s to use the space rent-free, the village has took the overhead of the Internet, electricity and cleaning of the bathroom facilities, according to the document.
The rental agreement would continue each month until the sheriff’s office leaves the space. Legislators signed an agreement of $100 per month for a five-year term.
According to the justification in the resolution, the cost of the use of the substation is offset by the time and vehicle usage saved by not traveling back and forth to Fultonville.
County Executive Matthew Ossenfort said the substation helps prevent the drive back and forth for deputies and it gives them a home base in the western part of the county.
“I think it’s more than reasonable,” Ossenfort said about the $100 charge. “For them to let us use the space for free, that was very kind of them, but I also don’t think this ask is unreasonable.”