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August 24. 2014 9:42PM

Nashua aldermen to consider communication upgrades

NASHUA — Aldermen this week will consider spending $6 million to continue upgrades to the citywide radio communications system.

Last year, Nashua officials approved spending about $1.6 million on the first phase of the upgrade, in addition to a $1 million bond to purchase nearly 300 Motorola portable radios for all fire and police personnel.

On Tuesday, a public hearing will be held to consider the second and third phases, which would require a proposed bond of up to $6 million.

While the first phase replaced the entire radio system network, phases two through five involve replacing various radio channels and purchasing several new mobile and portable radios. Aldermen will only be considering phases two and three at this time.

Bill Mansfield, radio systems manager for the city, has said that the entire radio system is more than a decade old. There are nearly 1,000 radios, including handheld radios and automobile-installed radios, that are currently being used by various city departments such as police, fire, public works and schools.

Mansfield said that city dispatchers on occasion lose the ability to receive emergency panic-button alerts from firefighters or police officers, forcing them to use back-up radio equipment.

“Many of the radios are not manufactured anymore, and we can't even get parts for them,” Alderman Brian McCarthy said.

The five-year, citywide radio communication plan includes an overall price tag of about $10 million.

Tuesday's public hearing on the proposed $6 million bond for the radio communications upgrade will begin at 7 p.m. at Nashua City Hall. The aldermanic Budget Review Committee is expected to make a recommendation on the proposal after receiving public input.

A separate public hearing will be held Tuesday evening on a different proposal to spend up to $750,000 for the purchase of a new, citywide telecom system, which includes the equipment and consultant phase of the three-year project.

khoughton@newstote.com


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