$4.2M contract Ok’d for system

The Lycoming County commissioners approved 2-1 a $4.2 million agreement Monday morning with Motorola Solutions Inc. to replace radio systems and equipment — a project previously estimated at about $4.95 million by Michael McGrady, MCM Consulting Group president.

The replacement project is the largest portion of the 911 radio system overhaul proposal McGrady presented in October.

The main goal is to replace the Quantar base station transmitters, which reach their end-of-life in 2020, meaning Motorola no longer will service the stations and parts will be unavailable.

The new stations will be analog, which matches with surrounding radio systems. Should they need to be upgraded to digital for any reason, the county can do so with software, which will be cheaper than hardware, McGrady said.

Although the stations are Motorola, all brands of public-safety-grade portable radios will be compatible, he added.

Because the county would be contracting with Motorola through the state’s cooperative purchasing program, Costars, the request for proposal process isn’t necessary, said solicitor J. Michael Wiley.

Should the county want to seek other prices anyway, a 60-day out was build into the Motorola contract, meaning the county can change its mind within 60 days without incurring any costs, McGrady said.

However, Commissioner Rick Mirabito voted against the agreement, stating approving the $4.2 million contract and then seeking requests for proposals didn’t make sense.

“We’re going to tell the world, ‘Here’s what we’re willing to pay,’ “ he said.

Commissioners Jack McKernan and Tony Mussare said they understood Mirabito’s hesitancy, but agreed the deal was too good to pass up — Motorola’s discount had a deadline of the end of 2018, after all.

“I share your concern,” McKernan said, “but MCM did give us the heads up back in September that the best deal will come at the end of the year when companies are trying to make their numbers.”

“It’s too much to risk,” agreed Mussare.

MCM has been working with Lycoming County since about 2010 on various projects concerning its 911 radio system, from building and upgrading towers to performing the nine-month study leading up to the overhaul proposal, McGrady said.

Current radio system projects MCM has a hand in outside of the county include a $25 million overhaul for Erie County, he added.

“I can tell when it’s a good deal and I can tell when it’s a really, really good deal,” he said. “I think this is the best buy you’re ever going to get.”

The total overhaul was projected to cost about $7.4 million.

Included in that scope are two new tower sites, $1 million; five new microwave hops for connectivity, $650,000; MCM’s consulting, engineering, management and other fees, $440,000; and a contingency of about $352,000. Add in Motorola’s $4.2 million contract, and the new projection rests at about $6.7 million.

The next commissioners meeting will be held at 10 a.m. Thursday in Executive Plaza.

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