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North Fulton Cities Partner to Replace Failing Radio System Used by Police, Fire

Roswell is in partnership with Sandy Springs, Alpharetta, Milton and Johns Creek for a new radio system that would be running by spring.

Five North Fulton cities are close to their goal of obtaining a new radio system.

Last week, Dec. 10, the Roswell approved a mid-year budget adjustment to set aside $3.8 million for a new system, said city Spokeswoman Julie Brechbill.

The new system is a long time coming. North Fulton police and fire chiefs have been working on a solution to replace the Fulton County radio system they currently use, which is 20-years-old and failing.

"The exisiting radio system that we have is going to go away. It's maintained by Fulton County and they do not plan to maintain it for much longer," said Interim Roswell Police Chief Rusty Grant during the Monday, Dec. 17, Roswell City Council meeting.

Roswell is in partnership with Sandy Springs, Alpharetta, Milton and Johns Creek for a new estimated $16 million digial radio system that could be up and running in the next year and half. The cities created an intergovernmental agreement for a Unified Radio System. They also plan to seek state legislation to create a government authority.

According to Brechbill, the $16 million is an estimate of the total cost and "will be refined as the engineering and tower site selection is finalized." Roswell's portion of the bill is somewhat higher than the other cities, at 26.54 percent, since the formula used to determine how much each city would pay was based on a combination of land mass, population and number of radios to be used by each city.

"Roswell had the largest land mass and the most radios due to parks police, city marshalls, detention center in addition to police and fire," she said.

Each city manager is presenting details of the new radio system and the agreement to their respective City Councils for approval by the end of the month.

"Once Sandy Springs release a [purchase order], work will begin on site analysis and build out," Brechbill told Roswell Patch. "Projected time to completion is less than 18 months."

and the risk of communication breakdowns among first responders from various jurisdictions during an emergency.

He said, “If anybody calls us for assistance we will respond and help them. We all cooperate with each other, but if we can’t talk to each other, that really hurts our ability to coordinate resources.”

The five cities had considered partnering on a radio system with the Urban Areas Security Initiative, a federally funded program created after 9/11 to secure major urban areas from terrorist acts. But the agreement would’ve been controlled by Fulton County.

The initial capitalization from each city for a total of $16 million would be as follows:

Alpharetta: $3,083,840

Milton: $1,997,120

Johns Creek:  $2,756,800

Roswell: $4,246,720

Sandy Springs: $3,915,520

Sandy Springs will manage monthly billing for the radio system to each city through a fiduciary fund overseen by the finance department. Late payments would result in a 5 percent late fee and 6 percent interest charge.

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