Common Council Hears Update on Radio Communications

Common Council Hears Presentation on Public Safety Radios

City Communicates OnFocus – The Marshfield Common Council got an update on a plan put together by the Police and Fire Departments along with a private company Baycom.

According to the presentation, the first step of the plan upgrading or installing three antennas in the city in 2018, the antennas would be placed at the police department, on the water tower at St. Joseph’s and McMillan, and on a tower owned by Wood County in the southwest part of the city at a cost of $190,355.50. The second step is to upgrade the portable radios used by the police and fire departments at a total cost of $378,362 spread out over 2019 and 2020.

“How are the new towers going to work with the current radios?” asked Mayor Bob McManus.

“All existing portables will work,” said Dave Steinhoff from Baycom. “The system is designed around the same technology from the old portables to the new portables.”

“I believe it was the October 10th meeting there was somebody here that was saying if we got new radios that reception would be 85 percent better,” asked McManus. “Do you have a percentage because I was skeptical at the time that I heard it 85 percent when you’re just going from five watts to six and a half is a big jump, correct?”

“It would not be 85 percent better. I wouldn’t even have a value,” stated Steinhoff. “There would be an increase of something. If you upgraded the portables, you’re probably going to see an increase that could be due to the manufacturer of the radio, the tier of radio that you’re purchasing, but the amount of increase that would make would not be at 85%. It would be that at less than 25%.”

“At that time it was stated ‘spend $180,000 and we’re going to be 85% better, let’s approve it’,” responded McManus. “Now basically the council is getting told the information that we had back then was was not accurate so this council received certain estimates or guarantees and then we vote based on those guarantees and then sometime after it ends up being a lot more.”

No action was taken by the council at this meeting.