Richmond Co. Commissioners approve new agreement for radio coverage

Richmond Co. Commissioners approve new agreement for radio coverage

AUGUSTA, GA (WFXG) - Richmond County Commissioners voted on Tuesday to move forward with going into an agreement with a new provider for the county's radio coverage. They're hoping better service comes out of that deal, especially when first responders are out on emergency situations in areas where the signal is bad.

It's a direction that Richmond County Departments have been planning to make for over one year: leave the existing partnership with Palmetto 800 based out of South Carolina for a better radio coverage partnership.

"Due diligence was definitely done from beginning to end due diligence was definitely done," says Tameka Allen, Information Technology Director.

Motorola was the recommended choice the Public Safety Committee chose. It will cost more than $13 million from taxpayers, but money has already been put aside from SPLOST 7.

"That includes towers, improved radio coverage in our South Augusta area, improved operability, upgrades to our 911 systems," says Allen.

Three out of the 6 towers that are part of the deal will be owned by the city with the possibility of all 6 being owned by the end of the 10-year-deal with Motorola, a company that surrounding counties such as Columbia County also use.

"You have to go with the history, you have to go with what you know. A lot of people know about Motorola and people feel secure with them",  says Commissioner Marion Williams.

While this wasn't the cheapest option available, Department officials such as Fire Chief Chris James says this expected service will make a difference when it comes to saving lives down the road.

"Instead of that muffled sound like you're talking to Charlie brown's teacher with the new microphones they'll be able to hear the first responders clearly that are inside of the building fighting a fire," says Chief James.

Next week the full commission has to approve this before the process can get started. The expected time-line for everything to be completed is June 2020.

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