County chooses vendor for $400K emergency paging system upgrade

by Kate Shunney

Morgan County Commissioners selected one of three vendors who bid to upgrade the countywide emergency paging system.

On the recommendation of 911 Director Marshall Younker and a panel of reviewers, commissioners on September 20 chose G Tech Communications of Hampshire County to install a new paging system used by fire and EMS responders in the county.

G Tech submitted a bid of $424,115 to complete the county’s list of upgrades. That includes a base price of $333,759 plus licenses and all service contracts for the next two years.

Motorola, which has equipped the county’s 911 center and emergency radios, proposed a cost of $1.48 million to redo the paging system. That figure excluded software and support.

On a 3-0 vote, commissioners agreed to go with G Tech Communications and refine the pricing for the job.

This was the third round of bidding for the paging system improvements.

Alarm ordinance coming?

In other business, Younker and Morgan County Sheriff K.C. Bohrer asked the county’s blessing to create a workgroup to draft an alarm ordinance for the county. Repeated false automatic alarms have been a problem for law enforcement officers and 911.

Younker has researched ordinances from other counties to see how theirs are structured. He said 911 is most interested in making alarm system owners keep their contact information current and updated with the county. That makes it possible to contact property owners or family members if an alarm is tripped.

Bohrer said he’s not so interested in having alarms be registered, but having the ability to penalize people for multiple false alarms that waste police time and resources.

Commissioners said they could put out a request to other counties for their ordinances to compare what’s out there.

“It’s not looking for revenue,” Younker said of alarm rules that may involve a registration fee.

“We’re looking for compliance,” the sheriff said.

Commissioner Bill Clark asked if most false alarms are residential. Younker said it’s close to a fair split between residential house alarms and commercial alarms that malfunction.

Clark said he didn’t think a workgroup was necessary – the commissioners could just look at different ordinance examples to work with.

Commissioner Joel Tuttle said Younker and Bohrer didn’t need the commission’s permission to have a committee if they want one.

Bohrer said he’d like the input of businesses and others besides emergency services.