More movement on communication alliance

Posted 10/27/20

Madison County moved a step closer to joining the Brazos Valley Wide Area Communications System Monday, when commissioners approved a bid for electrical work for an antenna mounted on a tower at Lake Madison.

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More movement on communication alliance

Posted

Madison County moved a step closer to joining the Brazos Valley Wide Area Communications System Monday, when commissioners approved a bid for electrical work for an antenna mounted on a tower at Lake Madison.

BVWACS, a partnership between cities, counties and Texas A&M University, operates a seven-site public safety trunked radio system that links law enforcement entities, fire departments and medical crews across a wider area than possible before.

For Madison County, it will also eradicate existing “dead zones” where radio and other communications fail from lack of connection with the addition of a new microwave tower. Commissioners initially approved joining BVWACS in February.

Monday’s award of $3,785 to McCafferty Electric will tie the Lake Madison antenna to the new system.

“There’s a lot that hasn’t been done (to the antenna) over the years,” County Judge Tony Leago told commissioners during their regular meeting Monday. “This is about bringing it up to snuff.”

The BVWACS system will replace an aging county communications infrastructure, including dispatch panels and upgrade computer dispatch systems. The network will enable Madison County first responders to immediately connect with colleagues in Walker County or Brazos County.

“Literally, with the push of a button,” Madison County Emergency Management Coordinator Shelly Butts told commissioners in February. The current system requires a chain of phone calls between dispatchers, with messages getting muddied along the way, she said.

Initial outlay for equipment to join the multi-county system will total around $80,0000, Butts told commissioners in May. Other costs moving forward have been cut due to grants received by the state.

“We should be able to get onto the system for under $200,000,” Butts told commissioners. “Originally, we thought it could be a half million.”

In other moves Monday, commissioners approved five maintenance agreements ranging from $795 to $1,4,95 annually for the county’s generators. The generators have previously been

without a maintenance agreement, opening the door to untimely failure, according to county designated representative Lynn Jeffries.

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