City Council Approves Funding for 911 Radios

By Daniela Salvador
By Rachel Martin

June 19, 2012 Updated Jun 19, 2012 at 11:26 PM EDT

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (Indiana’s NewsCenter) – City Council approved their half of the payment on the new 911 radio system for emergency responders.

They did their part, and now it's up to the County. City Council approved their half of the payment on the new radio system for emergency responders, Tuesday night, but how they’re choosing to pay could affect the payment deal with Motorola.

There are two parts to the radio system: the infrastructure, or system set-up, and the actual radios. The City and County will split the infrastructure cost 50-50, paying $4.2M each. The City will pay an additional $5.5M for the radios making their total $9.8M. The County will pay $2.9M for the radios, making their portion $7.1M total. The radio system costs $16.9M all together.

City Council members say they will choose to pay infrastructure costs in cash through income tax and their general fund, but will finance, or borrow money, to pay for the radios.

“We don’t have quite as much cash as the County maybe has. With the County paying cash for the infrastructure, the City determined that we will come up with the cash to pay for that. The radios on the other hand, we have unknown revenues coming and we’re not sure what our cash flows are going to be on the income taxes,” said Pat Roller, City Controller.

Roller says on this particular financing with Motorola there’s no pre-payment penalty or issuance cost in addition to a 1.07 percent interest rate. She says financing is the best choice for the city right now because there are other issues, like streets and Ash trees, that need immediate funding. Once the City knows what their revenue streams will be, Roller says they’ll be able to off the debt with no problem.

Motorola is offering a discount if the system is paid for in cash. Despite the City financing, council members say it shouldn't affect that deal.

“We have enough money that if we had to pay cash, we could but I don't think we should touch all the money. We'll get a very good interest rate if we finance some of it. So I think that's prudent to take a balance approach to this basically $10M bill,” said City Council President, Tom Smith.

City Council was told that County Council plans to pay their portion entirely in cash. Smith says for them, it’s just a matter of which fund they will use to pay. County Council will decide at their meeting on Thursday.

The radios are expected to be in use by November of next year.

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