Communications, Fire Department, News

Lincoln (NE) Seeks New Emergency Radio System

The city has officially started the search for a new emergency radio system.

A bid solicitation went out late last week, giving companies 90 days to put together a proposal.

Public Safety Director Tom Casady expects four companies will offer proposals for a new emergency radio system that will link police, fire and others to the 911 center and to each other.

The four — Tait Communications, Harris Corporation, E.F. Johnson Technologies and Motorola — each visited Lincoln as the city was studying how it would fund a new radio system to replace components of a current system that are almost 30 years old.

Interested companies will be in Lincoln next week, June 17, for a mandatory pre-bid meeting, where they will have a look at local facilities and equipment.

This is a big-ticket item, probably more than $20 million, so the competition could be fierce.

Lincoln will be paying for the new system with proceeds from a quarter-cent hike in the city sales tax. Voters approved the increase in April, but it won’t take effect until Oct. 1. And the money, about $1 million a month, won’t start hitting the city’s bank account until December.

The same committee that recommended the city seek voter approval for the sales tax hike will serve as an oversight committee, monitoring purchase of the radio system and construction of four new fire stations included in the project’s scope.

All 12 members, originally appointed by Mayor Chris Beutler, have agreed to be part of the oversight committee, Casady said.

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