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County looks to upgrade communications

Staff Report

WALSENBURG- The Board of County Commissioners is considering upgrades to the county’s paging system for emergency and first responders, based on a presentations from Dave Balsick of Page Me presented information.

    Emergency Dispatch has implemented new technology upgrades in an ongoing process to move the communications system into the 800MHz bandwidth.  The older pagers used by responders have been overloaded with information for every call dispatch makes to first responders. 

    “With the evolution of technology we can customize the paging to the particular agency or send it out county wide with the new system we will have installed by late spring or early summer,” County Communications Director Don Mercier said.

    The carrots dangled before the commissioners are that the new pagers will cost between $80 to $100 each as compared to the $400 that current pagers cost.  Infrastructure such as towers and dishes are installed at no cost to the county.  The Page Me company will bear the costs according to Blasick.

    “The cost of pager numbers are at $84 a year and each agency can have as many numbers as they need,” Mr. Blasick said.  “That means that we can just page agency heads or everyone.  It’s a minimal investment with at least as good and maybe even better coverage as the county has now.”

    A test site is being set up in Cuchara where the dispatch footprint is incomplete.  Once testing is completed and emergency communications is satisfied with the results, the county will be approached to start considering the change over to the newer system.

    “I’ve had meetings with all the agency heads and if it is decided to go with system then we will need the change over to happen all at once,”  La Veta Fire Protection District Chair Mark Brunner said.

    In other action the BoCC approved a conditional use permit for a second anemometer tower to be installed north of Highway 10 on the Busch Ranch.  According to Mike Moore, who has been working as the go between for Busch and EUI, the wind is very constant in eastern Huerfano County.

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