Black Hawk Co. considering new $15 million radio system - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Black Hawk Co. considering new $15 million radio system

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WATERLOO (KWWL) - It's tough to put a price tag on safety, but Black Hawk County has an idea of what it will take to improve communications during an emergency.

The county is considering a new public safety radio system that is estimated to cost up to $15 million.

The new system is supposed to meet federal standards, so various agencies can communicate more effectively during emergencies.

On Tuesday, the public was invited to share their thoughts about it at a Black Hawk County budget hearing.

One email from a resident, who could not attend because of complications due to the weather, was read in favor of it.

No one in attendance had any comments or concerns about it, once the Board of Supervisors opened the floor.

The current radio system is leased from RACOM Communications and will no longer be supported by the manufacturer after 2016. Black Hawk County Supervisor Frank Magsamen says that changes are needed because the current system will soon be outdated.

"The system we have now has been around for 20 years, and we were given notification that we would no longer be supported by RACOM in calendar year '17, so we have to take action now," Magsamen said. "This way, we will have a very strong and usable system for our public safety within Black Hawk County."

Supervisors say, if it is approved, taxpayers would see the cost on their property tax bill.

Again, the $15 million cost is just an estimate at this time. Supervisors say they will know more closer to May.

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