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November 14, 2007

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Ohio county to use DHS money for emergency communications study

Grant will fund study's 2nd phase
 
By Nancy Bowman 
Dayton Daily News

TROY, Ohio —Miami County again will use federal Homeland Security money to continue a countywide emergency services communications study.

The county commission last year approved hiring RCC Consultants of Richmond, Va., to take a look at existing equipment and alternatives for future operations at a cost of almost $60,000.

The county used part of its annual Homeland Security grant for the project. Unlike many grants, the Homeland Security program does not require the county to provide matching dollars.

Ken Artz, county Emergency Management Agency director, told the commission in late October that he recommended using all of this year's grant of $105,229 for phase two of the study.

The communications system review and eventual equipment changes to update and meet today's needs fits requirements for use of the grant money, he said.

The county communications center, opened in Troy in 1990, handles police, fire and emergency medical services, calls and dispatch for all agencies across the county.

The second phase will require the input of a number of entities, Artz said. The phase will look at what needs to be done to the communication system to meet the specific needs of the county and list the equipment/work needed to carry out the task.

A third phase would involve purchase and installation of selected communications equipment.

Commission President Ron Widener, also chairman of the Communications Center board, said his understanding was RCC would come up with a list of projects and numbers and the county then could decide on priorities.

"Where do we want to go, and how do we do it?" Artz said of his expectations from the second phase.

Some of the projects probably can be spread out over time and specific items put in future requests for grants, he said.

Preliminary estimates on replacement costs for radios and other equipment have been in the millions of dollars. The county pays for the communication center, with an annual budget of around $2 million, with a portion of the sales tax.

Copyright 2007 Dayton Newspapers, Inc.

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