Multi-million dollar radio project to appear on November's ballot

Posted at 7:29 AM, Jul 20, 2017
and last updated 2017-07-20 10:56:09-04

Police and firefighters happy after Eaton County's board of commissioners voted to put a 12 million dollar radio upgrade on November's ballot.

First responders say it's a long time coming.

"I can list too many times where we've been limited with our radio communications," a Grand Ledge Police officer said.

They say they're seeing more radio failures and are worried.

Because if there's an emergency and first responders radios aren't working, it can be dangerous.

"Being a firefighter calling for help and having that radio not work it's unimaginable," Delta Township Fire Chief John Clark said.

"That's their life line,” Eaton County Dispatch Director Michael Armitage said. “They need to know when they get on that radio and call for help that that radio's going to work and there's going to be somebody there to hear them."

The project would make sure they're being heard. It would add five radio towers to the county... And first responders would have access to more powerful radios. The catch is that it costs 12 million dollars.

"The current budget for the county can't support the project as it is,” Armitage said. “We have to have a new source of funding."

The one the commissioners voted on tonight is a surcharge that would add $1.75 to your phone bill. But not everyone was on board with it.

"I can't help but feel this is an attempt to pretend this isn't a tax increase to our constituents,” Eaton County Commissioner Terrance Augustine said. “I mean, it's a surcharge. But at the end of the day our constituents are paying more."

Fire Chief John Clark says it's going to be worth it.

“Do you really not want to pay $1.75 a month to know that calls going to go through?”

If you want to pay or don't want to. You can cast your vote in November.