City Council will discuss fire radios at meeting

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, December 2, 2009

By Mark Wineka
Portable radios that apparently had difficulty working in the rugged environment of the March 7 Salisbury Millwork fire will be replaced by new models.
Salisbury City Council will consider budget amendments Tuesday that include $107,316 to purchase 66 front-line radios for the Fire Department.
The new model Motorolas are submersible, as are their microphones. City Manager David Treme has said the new radios are better suited for rugged environments.
The state Occupational Safety and Health Division recommended last month that the city “take action on the portable radio issues that hampered communication during the fire,” in which Salisbury firefighters Justin Monroe and Victor Isler died.
The council meets at 4 p.m. Tuesday at City Hall, 217 S. Main St.
Management Services Director John Sofley said the city has been negotiating with Nextel over the past 18 months to develop a contract in which the city would trade some of its 800 mhz radio frequencies in exchange for replacement frequencies that would eliminate potential conflicts.
The City Council approved a contract May 6 to make those exchanges. As part of the contract, Sofley said, a significant amount of equipment owned by the city would be replaced, but not everything.
Sofley said three goals were not met, including the replacement of the Fire Department radios with the new models.
Nextel had agreed to replace the existing radios with the comparable model, not the more rugged model.
Also, the radios Nextel was providing were not “digital-enabled.” So the city has to add $655 per radio, or $124,252 for 249 radios owned by other governmental entities that use the city’s radio system.
The city also was not able to replace Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) equipment used by Salisbury-Rowan Utilities. The equipment is used to monitor and control tanks, pumps and wastewater pump stations.
The cost of adding the SCADA equipment is $244,932, bringing the total budget amendments for radios to $476,500.
In other agenda items Tuesday, the council will:
– Consider adopting a resolution enforcing Rowan County’s ordinance that prohibits sex offenders from entering the Salisbury branch of Rowan Public Library.
– Consider a municipal agreement with the N.C. Department of Transportation related to “enhancement funding” for landscaping on East Innes Street.
– Consider insurance connected to the building of a track-side platform and canopy at the Salisbury depot.
– Hear a report from staff on a proposed Street Festival and Special Events Ordinance and set a public hearing on the ordinance for Sept. 16.
– Hold a public hearing and consider a special-use permit for a Mikey’s Convenience Store at 1035 Mooresville Road. The permit would allow the off-premise sale of alcohol.
– Hold a public hearing on Land Development Ordinance text changes related to infill, plat certificates and manufactured home parks.
– Recognize Dr. Carol Spalding, the new president of Rowan-Cabarrus Community College.
Council meetings are streamed live at and shown later on Time Warner Cable ACCESS 16.