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February 14, 2014

Essex Co. public-safety radio system almost complete

ELIZABETHTOWN — Getting power to the last tower in Essex County’s new public-safety radio network may finally be happening.

The county has been struggling to get National Grid to extend electrical service to the new communications tower that’s been erected atop the mountain, Essex County Emergency Services Director Donald Jaquish said this week.

Other than the Belfry Mountain issue, the State Police are putting an equipment shelter on Gore Mountain for the existing tower there, and that’s about it for the new system, Jaquish told the County Board of Supervisors Public Safety Committee.

“We’re 80 percent done,” Jaquish said. “We are right now down to Belfry Mountain, Gore Mountain.”

RUNNING BY FALL

New digital radios that will use the towers are currently being installed in fire, medical and police vehicles in the county.

Jaquish said the multi-channel digital system should be tested and running by fall.

The committee approved spending $68,900 to have Mountain Lake Electric of Plattsburgh install uninterruptible power supplies and automatic transfer switches at various towers and to rewire the electric service to the Terry Mountain tower to separate the power feeds for the 11 individual users.

The payment gets another vote Feb. 24 at Ways and Means session and a final vote March 3.

RENT TO BE CHARGED

The county owns the Terry Mountain site in Clinton County and will begin charging rent and electrical usage to the tenants, which include two radio stations and one television station.

“Some users are on 24 hours day,” Jaquish said, and consume a lot of power.

He said that previously some tenants had paid for power, while others did not. The county bought the site from WPTZ-TV after it switched its broadcast tower to Mount Mansfield in Vermont.

BELFRY POWER

Securing Belfry Mountain power has been an ongoing problem, Jaquish said.

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