August 23, 2017

Seekonk Special Election - Public Safety Radio System

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On Tuesday, August 8, 2017, the Town of Seekonk will be conducting a special election concerning bond approval for the Seekonk Public Safety Radio Project. The special election is the final step toward replacing the radio system used by the police, fire, and communications departments.

The current radio system is over eleven (11) years old. The system includes several remote receive sites, portable radios, and mobile radios. The system equipment has reached its end of life. The system utilizes telephone lines to transmit voice data. Public safety has experienced numerous radio system failures due to use of telephone lines.

A professional study was conducted and a proposal to replace the system was presented to Seekonk Residents at the Spring Town Meeting. The proposal entails the replacement of remote receive sites in order to alleviate “dead” spots in town. At present, dead spots in town preclude public-safety personnel from transmitting to, or receiving from, public safety dispatchers. The proposed remote receive sites will drastically increase radio coverage abilities for public-safety personnel. The proposed remote receive sites would operate utilizing point-to-point technology, not telephone lines.

Point-to-point technology would provide increased reliability and redundancy in case a transmission path fails. The proposal calls for the replacement of mobile and portable radios. At present, these items have been failing at an increasing rate and this has resulted in money being expended to complete repairs. At some point, they will be incapable of being repaired.

In anticipation of an FCC mandate that is expected in the year 2023, multi-band radios would be purchased. Such a purchase will prepare Seekonk Public Safety for a more-seamless transition when it occurs. In the meantime, the purchase of multi-band radios will enhance the ability of Seekonk Public Safety to operate on the various radio frequencies being used in Massachusetts and Rhode Island. Such interoperability is crucial to the success of public safety during times of critical incidents.

Cost of the project is estimated to be approximately $3.02 million. Impact on a median residential tax bill would be $45 per year at the onset, reducing to $33.44 per year by the end of the 10-year bond.

The polling site will be open from 7:00 am to 8:00 pm at the Seekonk High School, 261 Arcade Avenue.

We appreciate the opportunity to present this project to Seekonk Residents and encourage all registered voters to participate in the election.

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