County officials reviewing bids for radio study

DOVER-FOXCROFT — The county sent out a letter earlier this fall seeking requests for proposals for a feasibility study on a public safety radio system to fix long-running communications problems for fire and police departments. The Piscataquis County Commissioners opened three bids during their Nov. 3 meeting, and these will be reviewed for a possible decision at the Nov. 17 meeting.

“As you know we put a letter for RFPs for radio consulting and the deadline was Friday at 4 p.m.,” Piscataquis County Emergency Management Agency Director Tom Capraro said. “We did receive three by deadline,” he said, saying he wanted the envelopes to be opened in a public setting.

Observer photo/Stuart Hedstrom
IMPROVED COMMUNICATION — Piscataquis County officials will review three bids on a public safety radio system study to solve long-running communications problems for the region’s fire and police departments.

“I have scheduled a meeting for the communications committee Thursday night to go over them,” Capraro said.

“I am going to open them and read the bottom line and then let them go over them,” Commissioners Chairman Jim White said about the committee’s review “We’re not necessarily comparing apples to apples. If something comes in at half price there’s probably a reason.”

The bids were $16,000 by Whitten’s 2-Way Service of Brewer — the letter said $6,000 of the costs would be for a review of the Moose Mountain site outside of Greenville; $37,729 by Federal Engineering of Fairfax, Virginia; and $27,000 by Communications Design Consulting Group of Barrington, New Hampshire.

“I will review them and I do have the committee meeting Thursday night at Dover fire,” Capraro said. The EMA director said he should have a choice to present to the commissioners for the meeting on Tuesday, Nov. 17.

“They are definitely in the ballpark of what we were expecting, even the high one,” White said.

The firm awarded the bid will work on resolving issues such as getting around the hilly terrain and upgrading or replacing antiquated equipment. Exactly how the problems will be remedied will be determined by the feasibility study.

Objectives include meeting with Capraro, Piscataquis County Sheriff’s Office Chief Deputy Todd Lyford and  Dispatch Sgt. Gary Grant and emergency personnel from around Piscataquis County to review the communications systems and look at current and potential sites. 

The study would identify upgrade costs, future recurring costs and the feasibility of a simulcast system. Another area to be looked at is potentially moving the sheriff’s dispatch center out of the jail and into the new department building.

In other business, White reported, “The budget committee has wrapped up their meetings and everything’s on schedule. The new members added a lot to the process. There was a good back and forth and information shared.”

County Manager Michael Williams said the next step in the budget process is to present the county and Unorganized Territory spending plans to the commissioners. “From there it will go to a public hearing on the Monday after Thanksgiving,” he said.

The hearing is set for the evening of Monday, Nov. 30 — start time to be announced but last year’s began at 6:30 p.m. The commissioners could approve the budgets during the first December meeting the morning of Tuesday, Dec. 1.

Williams said the radio study would require an adjustment in the budget, with the three bids having a near $22,000 range from lowest to highest.

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