South Lake Tahoe, CA- An unreliable public safety communications system has been an issue in South Lake Tahoe for years and today City Council took the first steps toward fixing it.
At their planning meeting in 2019, Council made replacing the communications system one of its top priorities.
“The current communications system our public safety, and public works employees use is old and can fail in moments where time is of the essence,” said Mayor Tamara Wallace, “Today’s action by council shows that we are committed to having the tools City employees need to keep our residents and visitors safe.”
Each agency relies on base, mobile and portable radios to communicate for both routine and emergency radio traffic. None of the three primary public services can communicate with one another on the same system. This communications system will be paid for from Measure S funds.
“Ensuring adequate public safety was the number one reason voters approved the one-cent sales tax, Measure S, when it was on the ballot in November,” said City Manager Joe Irvin, “This step is only possible because our tax-payers recognized the value of public safety and the City couldn’t be more thankful.”
City Council approved a temporary use of undesignated, unallocated General Fund reserves in the amount of $441,129.25 to pay the initial contract award payment and authorized the Mayor to sign a Purchase Agreement with Walker Telecomm, Inc. These funds will be returned to the General Fund when financing for the system has been approved by City Council. The bids for the new communications system closed in January of 2020 and a panel was formed to select the appropriate contractor. The panel chose Walker Telecom. The total cost of the project will be around $5 million, and the financing of the system will be discussed by City Council January 5, 2021.
“Right now, there are times we are fighting fires, and police are chasing criminals, and when we walk into a building, we can’t communicate with our colleagues outside,” said Battalion Chief Jay Manning, “This isn’t just problematic, it’s dangerous. This new system will go a long way toward keeping our public safety employees, public works employees, and everyone else safe.”\
More information on the new communications system can be found here.