Commissioner Says New Radio System Will Cost $20 Million So Fu - WJBF-TV ABC 6 Augusta-Aiken

Commissioner Says New Radio System Will Cost $20 Million So Funding Needs To Wait

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Augusta, GA -

At four thousand dollars each new Fire Department radios for the Augusta Fire Department are top of the line; they include GPS something that could be a lifesaver if a fire fighters goes down in a smoky building.

"We can find him, it will assist us it will assist us in being able to find him," says Fire Chief Chris James.

But the Fire Department is not able to take advantage of the feature now. "That GPS function is not usable on the current radio system that we have," said James.

Commissioner this week heard from Motorola about going to a new digital system, that the city would own, the company put the price at a shade over ten million dollars.

"But It don't think that's the bottom line number, George I think we're looking at 20 plus million dollars once we look at the entire system," says Mayor Pro-Tem Corey Johnson.

And for Augusta commissioners that makes looking at the upgrade very hard indeed.

"Where's the financing coming from, was there grant money available that's what's going to have to be worked out first and foremost," says Finance Committee Chairman Wayne Guilfoyle.

"We don't need to start this right now if this is an item agree up on put it in the SPLOST package it's self let the voters vote on it and see if they agree with it," says Mayor Pro-Tem Johnson.

But even just voting on the sales tax is a year away and it would be even longer before the money is available."We just can't spend the money we don't have at this time," says Guilfoyle.

"It might be two more years away can you wait, we asked the Fire Chief.

"We'll have to manage we will have to manage, said James.

But some question tonight over how to Motorola managed to make a proposal to commissioners on a possible 20 million dollar contract.

Did this violate city bidding procedures?

Commissioner Donnie Smith put the item on the Public Safety Committee agenda and said it is something the city has been talking about since February and it was supported by the Sheriff's Office Fire Department and 9-1-1, and he felt the committee should hear the proposal.

Commissioner Alvin Mason chairs the committee and said he did not oppose the item as "a discussion."

 The city Procurement Department forwarded our request for comment to the Law Department.

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