County panel accepts $2.3M grant

JOHNSTOWN – A?Fulton County committee has accepted a $2.3 million grant that will pay for upgrades to the Sheriff’s Department dispatch center and other communications improvements.

Fulton County Civil Defense-Fire Coordinator Allan Polmateer requested the Board of Supervisors’ Public Safety Committee formally accept the state grant. The full county board will take final action on acceptance of the grant March 10.

The grant is administered by the state Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services, Office of Interoperable & Emergency Communications.

Fulton County supervisors in July 2012 decided to participate in an 11-county Adirondack Regional Interoperable Communications Consortium. The mission of the consortium is to coordinate development of a wireless interoperable communications network for all first responders.

Fulton County last September applied for $1.5 million to improve communications, but got word in December the state was awarding the county $2.3 million. The award was given to improve communications, including upgrades to the Sheriff’s Department’s dispatch center, radio microwave links to other counties, and to protect infrastructure at existing tower sites such as in Bleecker.

Polmateer said Monday the grant will be earmarked this way: equipment – about $2.2 million; consultant services – $157,500; and personnel – $10,000.

He said the equipment funding will go to Internet-based radio equipment used by the sheriff’s office, a new tower, and a concrete bunker or shack on Bleecker Mountain.

“This system will be 100 percent compatible with Montgomery County,” Polmateer said. “It’s upgrading our whole radio system.”

Polmateer said as soon as the board accepts the grant in March, it will kick off an 18-month project that will upgrade emergency communications in Fulton County. Some of that will entail new mutual radio frequencies and bidding for equipment, he said.

The committee on Monday also approved a $4,186 budget amendment to renew a one-year warranty for the county’s FirstDefender haz-mat detection meter. The meter – used by the county’s haz-mat team – will be upgraded and recalibrated.

Michael Anich can be reached at manich@leaderherald.com.