Wis. county OKs $10.3m radio system

By Don Behm
The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

WEST BEND, Wis. — M/A-COM Inc., a Massachusetts subsidiary of Tyco Electronics, will be paid $10.3 million to provide an emergency radio system for Washington County, under a contract the County Board approved Tuesday.

The contract requires M/A-COM's digital system, including vehicle radios and hand-held portable radios, to be reliable at least 95% of the time over at least 95% of the county.

The system, to begin operating in late 2009, is to replace aging radio equipment used by the county Sheriff's and Highway departments, all municipal police and fire departments, and emergency medical services.

M/A-COM was the low bidder for the project, said Dominick Arcuri, a senior vice president with RCC Consultants Inc., a company the county hired to help plan the new system.

The proposal recommends using seven existing towers or tower sites. The $10.3 million contract includes the cost of replacing a tower on a We Energies property in the Town of Wayne, county Administrative Coordinator Doug Johnson said.

Sheriff Dale Schmidt said one of the towers, on Jefferson St. in West Bend, might not be able to support the additional weight of an emergency system antenna. Building a tower there would increase the final contract cost.

The board had budgeted $14.6 million for the project.

The contract is to buy antennas and other tower equipment, vehicle and portable radios, and consoles and computers for four dispatch centers. In addition to the Sheriff's Department, the county plans to provide radios, consoles and computers for dispatch centers in West Bend, Germantown and Hartford.

Those municipalities will be responsible for maintaining the equipment after installation, under the board's resolution.

Seven of 30 board members were absent when the vote was taken on the contract. Awarding the contract to M/A-COM was approved 21-2.
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