March 29, 2014
(West Palm Beach, FL) – After years of back and fourth negotiations, the City of West Palm Beach has reached an agreement surrounding its police radios. The agreement, if it receives final approval by city commissioners, preserves the city’s membership in the so-called “Open Sky consortium” (a collection of municipalities operating on the same radio system).
But West Palm Beach will not use the Open Sky radio system to communicate. Instead, it will have its own new system that will have the ability to tie into the Open Sky system when needed.
The reason behind the city’s demand to have its own system is that signals from the consortium’s Open Sky radio system are not strong enough to penetrate the more dense urban landscape of West Palm Beach. The city’s new system, known as a P-25 system, will be owned, controlled, operated and maintained by the city.
For the past five years, the city has paid $235,000 per year to the consortium. As part of the new agreement, those payments will be cut by more than half, dropping to $100,000 per year for the next five years.
In addition to purchasing the new P-25 radio system, the city will also build three new towers. Two will replace older towers located at the city’s water plant and waste water plant. A third will be built at Fire Station #2 on the city’s south end.
The total cost of the new system will be approximately $8.1 million dollars. The city had previously paid just over $5 million dollars to the Open Sky consortium.
The agreement will be up for discussion and possible city commission vote Monday afternoon.