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Ridgewood to Commit $700K to Radio Upgrades, Hope for Grant Money

Glen Rock officials are likely to tag along at a cost of $268,000, Mayor John van Keuran said.

Faced with a to meet federal compliance, Ridgewood officials say they're ready to drop about $700,000 for system upgrades. And Glen Rock looks likely to join them.

At its Sept. 5 council meeting, Ridgewood officials elected to bond $693,750 for "Option 1 Part A" to largely add radios and add a digital component to its emergency services radio system. Public safety officials in Ridgewood have said there are areas in town in which they cannot adequately communicate with other units, representing a public safety issue.

Ridgewood will be introducing the ordinance on Sept. 19. It stipulates that if any grant money is received from the application submitted, further upgrades will be approved up to $1,093,000 based on priority.

"Option 1 Part A" was recommended by Ridgewood and Glen Rock public safety officials have recommended, said Kevin Scarpa, who's spearheaded the effort to meet compliance and improve coverage in the village. It will cost a total of $895,000, he said.

"That's for a analog/digital system that will provide us what we need for coverage," Scarpa said Sept. 5. "It also includes the majority of equipment to get us to narrowband."

Glen Rock, which pays for 1/3 of Central Dispatch, will be staring at a bill of $268,750 should they approve their own ordinance. The borough has already met the federal requirement that it is narrowband compliant by Jan. 1, 2013, so they'll benefit mostly in the way of infrastructure upgrades. They too have coverage issues, Scarpa said.

Glen Rock Mayor John van Keuran told Patch that borough officials are likely to approve an ordinance to appropriate funds for the upgrades on Option 1.

Part B of option 1 is not specific to meeting compliance, but is mostly upgrades for infrastructure, Scarpa said. Fiber optic lines for both towns would be split 50-50 if grant money is allocated, according to the plan.

Central Dispatch software upgrades were also proposed though not included in the option selected. Should they at some point opt for the upgrades at Central Dispatch, more towns could jump on to have Central Dispatch as their dispatch center, according to Scarpa.

Have a question or news tip? Contact editor James Kleimann at James.Kleimann@patch.com, or find us on Facebook and Twitter. For news straight to your inbox every morning, sign up for our daily newsletter.

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