Sedgwick County Fire asks commission for $789,000, needs new radios

SEDGWICK COUNTY, Kan. (KSNW) – Sedgwick County Firefighters asked the county commission on Thursday for nearly $790,000 to pay for new radios.

During a budget workshop, county fire officials told the commission their current radios are about 11-years-old and are no longer being manufactured.

“We cannot purchase anymore, we cannot repair, we are just running on spare stock,” said Sedgwick County Communications Equipment Supervisor Jared Wilson.

Commissioners and fire officials discussed their options.

“I’m trying to figure out the best way that we can get the best value for the taxpayers dollar and have effective equipment out there to protect our firefighters,” said Sedgwick County Commissioner Karl Peterjohn.

Wilson told the commission that the current Motorola radios have an “end of life” date of December of 2018. Wilson recommended approving the purchase of the new radios with the intent of buying them in 2016 and putting them in the field by 2017,

County Commission Chairman Jim Howell asked if it would make more sense to hold off and buy the radios closer to their “end of life” date.

“It’s important that we provide the right equipment to our first responders,” Howell said. “The requirements are very stringent, however as a conservative I want to make sure we don’t replace something that is not really needed to be replaced.”

Howell proposed buying the radios in phases to cut down on costs. Wilson agreed with the idea.

“I would recommend half in ’16 and half in ’17,” Wilson said.

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