County to borrow $6 million for new wing, radio upgrade

Montgomery County legislators have approved two public safety-related bonding resolutions totaling more than $6 million.

At Tuesday’s meeting, legislators unanimously passed a $3.5 million resolution authorizing the construction of a new wing for the county public safety building and a $2.8 million resolution to upgrade the county’s radio communication system.

Adding on to the public safety building would allow the relocation of “various departments” currently housed in the County Annex Building to the new wing, according to the resolution.. The Annex Building is home to Alternatives to Incarceration, Fulmont Community Action Agency, Human Resources, Public Health Purchasing, the Real Property Tax Service Agency, Stop DWI, the county Treasurer’s office, Veterans Services, Workers Compensation and the Youth Bureau.

Legislature Chairman Thomas Quackenbush said the relocation of departments currently in the Annex Building has been discussed for years.

“We’re jumping over dollars to pick up nickels,” he said.

The upgrade to the county’s radio communications system would establish a countywide communication system by allowing all police, fire and emergency management organizations in the county to communicate with each other on a “high band” frequency rather than a “low band” frequency, according to District 8 Legislator Joseph M. Isabel, chairman of the county’s Public Safety Committee. Currently, organizations cannot necessarily communicate with each other, he said.

The average maturity date for the serial bonds needed to finance both projects is expected to exceed five years, according to the resolution. The bonds can mature no later than the date of “the expiration of the period of probable usefulness” of the projects, according to New York state law. That is expected to be 30 years for the new wing and 10 years for the communication system, according to the resolutions.

John Becker

John Becker is both a Reporter and Consulting Editor for The Compass. He and his wife Pat operate Abbey Farms in Amsterdam NY.