published Thursday, June 6th, 2013

Hamilton County to buy handheld radios

Hamilton County Commission Chairman Larry Henry, center, works with other commissioners in this file photo.
Hamilton County Commission Chairman Larry Henry, center, works with other commissioners in this file photo.
Photo by Dan Henry /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

In other business, commissioners:

• Accepted a $25,945 contract from Parris Roofing and Sheet Metal to reroof the Agricultural Soil Conservation Center.

• Accepted a $52,845 contract with Modern Cable Technology to upgrade cable at the county's telecommunication office.

• Agreed to purchase property for a new Sale Creek Volunteer Fire and Rescue Station.

• Agreed to let Wetland Conservation Easements to be created on property at Enterprise South Nature Park and the adjacent industrial park.

After taking a week off in May, Hamilton County Commissioners on Wednesday had plenty on their plates.

Commissioners approved more that $8 million in low-bid contracts -- the largest of which was a $6.75 million agreement to buy portable radios.

Grouping many of the 28 spending resolutions into single blocks, Chairman Larry Henry said the majority of the items were business as usual.

"Many of these are routine, low-bid items that have approval from our finance committee," Henry said.

Indeed, none met opposition from commissioners, and all came to the commission with the blessings of its finance committee, which met last week to discuss the agenda.

After Wednesday's vote, the county will replace its 1,697 handheld radios, used by various county departments, getting in line with federal regulations requiring government and public safety officials to use narrow band, digital devices for uniform communication.

Commissioner Fred Skillern, chairman of the finance committee, said during discussion he approved the expense, but cautioned that some 5 percent of the county would not have radio coverage because of the area's mountainous terrain.

According to Federal Communication Commission rules, governments were supposed to be operating on narrow band radios by Jan. 1, 2011. But Mayor Jim Coppinger said last week federal officials provided no money to pay for the mandate.

Contact staff writer Louie Brogdon at lbrogdon@ or 423-757-6481. Follow him on Twitter at @glbrogdoniv.

about Louie Brogdon...

Louie Brogdon began reporting with the Chattanooga Times Free Press in February 2013. Before he came to the Scenic City, Louie lived on St. Simons Island, Ga. and covered crime, courts, environment and government at the Brunswick News, a 17,000-circulation daily on the Georgia coast. While there, he was awarded for investigative reporting on police discipline and other law enforcement issues by the Georgia Press Association. For the Times Free Press, Louie covers Hamilton County ...

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