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New London, Waterford Enter Tentative Radio Agreement

Non-binding memorandum of understanding adopted as possible way to join Waterford’s new emergency communications system

New London has taken a tentative step toward joining Waterford’s new emergency communications system after the City Council approved a non-binding memorandum of understanding and letter of intent on the matter.

The document was approved unanimously in a roll call vote. The Public Safety Committee had to have Law Director Jeffrey Londregan review it to ensure that it does not yet officially enter into an agreement with Waterford.

Lt. Brett Mahoney of the Waterford Police Department told the Finance Committee at the Public Safety Committee that the system will meet an accepted radio standard by providing 95 percent coverage to New London 95 percent of the time. The memorandum of understanding says that Waterford will agree to include New London on its new $6.5 million emergency communications system.

“The terms and conditions of this venture have yet to be finalized,” the document reads, “however New London as a part of this memorandum of understanding agrees that they will operate in this radio system approximately 215 portable radios, and approximately 135 mobile radios (numbers to be finalized), as well as a dispatch console within the city of New London.”

In a letter to Mayor Daryl Finizio of New London, First Selectman Dan Steward of Waterford said Waterford has a trunked narrow band system allowing departments to use the service without interfering with other communities' communications. Steward said inclusion on the system can also allow different communities to coordinate in a major emergency, and that Waterford is currently capable of communicating with the Connecticut State Police, East Lyme, Montville, and the Millstone Power Station.

Steward says Waterford had to install several tower and base equipment sites for the system, but that New London and Groton City could be included on the system without additional construction. He said the New London police and fire departments have tested Waterford radios in several places around New London.

Steward estimates that it would cost New London approximately $4 million to upgrade its own radio system to meet a federal requirement to switch to narrow band frequency by January of 2013. He said the cost to purchase the new radios to join the Waterford system would be “less than $1.1 million plus installation.” New London would also pay half of the estimated $204,000 maintenance costs.

“We are prepared to share our backbone of services with New London as a community partner,” Steward writes. “There are several things beyond a memorandum of understanding that are needed but it could result in major savings for the city of New London.”

Inclusion on the Waterford system has been proposed as an alternative to the proposed construction of a at to enhance emergency communications and cell phone coverage. The tower is estimated to bring in $1.2 million in revenue, which would be used for the upkeep of the park. Some nearby residents have spoken out against the tower, saying it will lower property values and be vulnerable to extreme weather.

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Thomas Cornick February 27, 2012 at 11:42 AM
So, what you are telling me is instead of our own revenue generating tower we will PAY to use Waterford's tower so that we don't upset the Waterford neighborhood of Ridgeview with a tower that blocks the view.
Keith J Robbins February 27, 2012 at 01:24 PM
No, what is is telling you is we will no longer have to maintain a system for one community.....we will be part of a larger more cost effective system. There is not need for a state that has a population of less than 3.5 million to have more than 80 911 answering points.
Thomas Cornick February 27, 2012 at 03:49 PM
Great Idea, too bad about the loss of revenue, a million does not go far in New London anyway. Let's see how many of our High School Students Waterford will take, after all there is no reason to have two high schools a mile apart.
Dennis Downing February 27, 2012 at 11:02 PM
wasn't there something along this line that we were going to do with Montville not that long ago?
RED DOG February 27, 2012 at 11:12 PM
Very good point why don't we just have Waterford do everything for New London, seeing as New London can't manage to manage itself. New London should keep its autonomy, and be leading the region, it wasn't long ago Waterford high school students attended New London Schools. The tower at the beach had more than 1.2 million attached to it there were several other infrastructure replacements going to have been a part of that agreement, for the City and at the beach. Remember these words on this day Waterford will put up a tower within 1 square mile of where the one would have been at the beach. There are things Waterford is not telling.
Thomas Cornick February 28, 2012 at 12:19 AM
Biff and Muffin living near the beach claim that a revenue generating tower and support building will reduce their property values. Can we make up the lost revenue by adjusting their assessments? Or do we bow and scrape and kiss their butts for free?

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