County project aims at better communication

JOHNSTOWN – Fulton County government plans to launch a $1.7 million project this summer to greatly improve emergency radio communications in the county.

“Hopefully, this project gets going in July,” county Civil Defense-Fire Coordinator Allan Polmateer said Wednesday.

Polmateer said it may take the county 18 months to two years to implement the entire radio upgrade project.

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.

As part of the consortium, supervisors in September applied for funding to improve communications.

Polmateer said the application was submitted for a Statewide Interoperable Communications Grant to: improve communications including upgrades to the sheriff’s department’s 911 dispatch center on Route 29, radio microwave links to other counties, and to protect infrastructure at existing tower sites.

In December, the county was awarded $2.3 million under the grant, which was accepted by supervisors in March.

The grant is funded 100 percent by the state and administered by the state Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services.

Polmateer on Monday briefed the Board of Supervisors’ Public Safety Committee on the status of implementing the grant, breaking down how his office would like to allocate initial funding.

“This grant will give Fulton and Montgomery counties complete interoperability by having matching dispatch centers, workable from either county dispatch station,” Polmateer said.

He said his office wishes to initially break down grant funding for projects this way: 911 dispatch radio communications upgrade by Motorola Solutions under state contract – $680,000; microwave equipment running from sheriff’s station to Bleecker Mountain by Alcatel-Lucent under state contract – $584,000; and 200-foot communications tower at sheriff’s department, new shelter at Bleecker Mountain, and new generator by Motorola Solutions under state contract – $392,000.

The Public Safety Committee last week passed a proposed resolution to contract with the vendors, set up accounts for the grant, and amend the county’s 2014 capital plan.

The full board will vote May 12 on the resolution.

County Treasurer Terry Blodgett will advance funding for the emergency radio upgrade project.

Michael Anich covers Johnstown and Fulton County news. He can be reached at