PHENIX CITY, AL (WTVM) - $3.9 million is the cost of Phenix City's newest telecommunications system. City leaders say they have been throwing around the idea of switching the city's radio system from analog to digital for a decade.
"This new technology does things like gives up GPS locations of our equipment, of our personnel," explains Phenix City Chief of Police Ray Smith. "We're able to talk -- many more people can talk on a single channel than you can on a conventional system you can do over the air programming."
With $1.3 million already set aside to fund the project, Finance Director Steve Smith says the city will now borrow the remaining $2.7 million and pay it off over a 12 year period. It's a system that Chief Smith tells us will have a statewide impact.
"We're going to join a regional statewide radio system that will allow our officers to not only communicate here locally and keep them safe, but if they're called to go assist Huntsville or Opelika," Chief Smith adds.
And Steve says the new radios and towers will in turn produce revenue as well.
"We'll be able to rent space on that system and on those towers," Steve says. "And we anticipate that we'll be able to offset our maintenance costs of radio systems in the city in rental income that we'll be able to generate from other departments and other agencies."
When asked if this was something that should cause concern for residents, Chief Smith replied "Actually no, they should be excited that they're going to get this because the time that we call an officer and we can't get him because we need to give them a call and they have to drive up on top of a high spot in the neighborhood to be able to get their radios to work and get the call, that reduces our ability to be efficient and respond that officer to your emergency."
Finance Director Steve Smith tells me there will not be any additional tax increases to fund the new radio system.
Chief Ray Smith tells me the system is limitless and the maintenance, as needed, has already been factored into the total cost of the system. For more about the radio system the Motorola Astro 25 visit their website at this link.