Communities Save Money With Shared Radio Upgrade

Communities Save Money With Shared Radio Upgrade

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Leaders of towns and villages across Jefferson County have voted to upgrade emergency radio services, while saving money at the same time.

A panel of town and village leaders starting meeting this year to see how their communities can share services.

That's after Gov. Andrew Cuomo ordered the state's counties to look into how they could share services better.

"The plan was to identify a couple big ticket items on which savings will be generated for all local municipalities, fire departments, police departments, ambulance squads, etc.," county Administrator Bob Hagemann said.

First responders will soon use a consolidated emergency radio system that links with six neighboring counties. 

The shared services plan will save Jefferson County more than $330,000. This comes as the county upgrades its emergency communications. 

Hagemann says the new system will be more efficient and help emergency crews.

"Under the current analog system, the lion's share of the region is covered," he said, "but if you're in the low-lying area of a hill, you might not get the coverage with your radio."

The 2018 state budget asked county governments to consolidate programs to save on property taxes.

The panel also recommended future issues to look into, including possibly expanding the county courthouse for Watertown's city court and upgrading technology for tax and IT services.

"Whether it's dealing with assessments, whether it's dealing with computer packages, we have a capability to provide some assistance because we're a much larger organization," Hagemann said.

Hagemann says members of the panel will get back together in early 2018 to address those issues.

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