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Local News

March 3, 2013

Essex, Clinton counties to get millions in state grants

LEWIS — Essex and Clinton counties will share millions in state funding for their public-safety radio systems.

The $2.2 million award for Essex County is part of a new round of funding to counties through the Statewide Interoperable Communications Grant program, a multi-year competitive grant supported by state cellular 911 surcharge revenue.

The request from the Essex County Office of Community Development included Clinton County, which will receive an additional $2.1 million to make its radio system compatible with the new Essex County digital network and do other upgrades.

TEAMWORK ON GRANT

Essex County Board of Supervisors Chair Randy Douglas (D-Jay) said Essex County Community Development Director Michael Mascarenas and Emergency Services Director Donald Jaquish should be lauded for their work on the application.

“With the assistance of Don Jaquish and his staff, Mike Mascarenas was able to put in successful grant applications on behalf of Essex and Clinton counties,” he said. “It was a great job.”

The awards will help expand radio coverage areas within the two counties and improve the connections between their radio systems.

Jaquish said it was a highly technical, 133-page application that got them the funding. He and County Emergency Services Deputy Director/911 Coordinator Michael Blaise worked with Mascarenas to write the request.

“That was a lot of work,” Jaquish said. “The state did a point system (to score applications). We were the 29th of 29 counties to get a grant using that system.”

The State Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services awarded a total $102 million in funding to the 29 counties.

AGING EQUIPMENT

Clinton County Emergency Services Director Eric Day said they’re using the grant to replace outdated system components that are in use daily.

“We have plans to replace aging existing microwave equipment that carries critical land-mobile radio communications as well as upgrade some of the backbone infrastructure components of the countywide 800 MHz trunked system.”

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