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North Logan votes to fund emergency radios with $1 garbage fee

September 20th, 2013 Posted in Opinion

Story and photo by Chelsea Hunter

NORTH LOGAN — To help pay for Cache County’s new emergency radio system, North Logan will add a $1 per month fee to each household’s  garbage services bill.  The City Council voted unanimously in support of the fee.

Cache County’s new emergency radio system. Photo by Chelsea Hunter.

“We just want to make sure the money is used wisely,” said Councilwoman Kristen Anderson.

One radio alone costs $2,500, and there are 1,000 radios in the county’s system. This fee will provide the user fees, a reserve fund, and expenses.

“We figured that was the easiest way to do it,” said Fire Chief John Keller. “Because it benefits the whole county, everybody should have to pay for part of this system, because everybody uses it. That’s one of the reasons that we looked into that option.”

The new statewide radio system was purchased to replace the old, cluttered VHS radio system previously used by emergency response teams. This new system will be more efficient and can be used all over the state on the same or different frequencies, said Randy Auman, director of Cache County 911 communications.

“I can be down in Salt Lake and talk to my guys on my hand-held radio from there to here,” said Keller. “So it benefits both the state of Utah and it also greatly benefits us, because we can’t do without it.

The new system was first used in the Salt Lake Valley during the Olympics in 2002. They are now expanding it to the whole state, which will diminish all other systems currently being used.

“I can see the utility of the system, and the importance of being there and in the smaller sense I can see how attaching it to the per-can collection is the most practical thing,” said Councilman John Bailey. “In the larger sense, I’m a little uncomfortable setting a precedent that any time we need to generate more revenue for something, that we just attach it to something like trash collecting. So I am a little uncomfortable with that, but in the immediate application, it makes sense.”

“These radios are going to be around a long time,” said Auman. “So the city won’t have to worry about having to give up more money to get a replacement radio. This system should last at least 15 years.”

There is no benefit for 911 communications having this in their budget. Auman said it would be more of a hassle than anything because all the board is going to do with it is put it in the 911 fund. The money will remain in the fund until it is spent by a board made up of representatives including the county fire chief, law enforcement, and emergency management services. This guarantees the money will not be used for anything but radio services, and cities may receive an audit at their request to prove that.

Charges will begin July 1, 2014, for North Logan, along with the other cities in Cache County that have approved this resolution.

“We need to have the system work, and we can’t do that without assistance, we need the support,” said Auman. “We have talked about how we are going to fund this system. There are a lot of options, and we chose this option.”


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