City Committee, Council Likely to Proceed with First Major Overhaul of Pasadena First Responder Communications in a Decade

Published : Monday, December 9, 2019 | 6:21 AM

The Pasadena City Council is expected to adopt a resolution Monday authorizing the execution of a financing agreement with JP Morgan Chase Bank that will cover funding for purchase and installation of new radio communication equipment for the Pasadena Police Department and the Pasadena Fire Department, in what could be the first major overhaul of the City’s radio communications systems in a decade.

An agenda report by the Department of Finance for Monday’s City Council meeting shows that the radio communication equipment supporting both the fire and police departments were last replaced in 2006 and 2008. The handheld and base radios were originally expected to be in service for 10 years, but have now exceeded their useful life, the report added.

Repairs are also increasing in both costs and frequency, and Motorola Solutions, Inc., the original supplier, no longer supports the version of radio equipment in the City’s public safety fleet. Repair parts have also become more difficult to source, the Finance Department said.

The financing agreement with JP Morgan Chase Bank will enable the City to be able to reimburse itself – from the proceeds of tax-exempt financing – for the amount it will expend for the purchase, construction, and equipping of the radio communication systems required for the long-awaited upgrade.

In October, the City Council approved the issuance of an $8 million contract to Motorola Solutions, Inc. for the purchase of radio equipment and accessories for the Fire and Police departments. The action included returning to the City Council for approval of a financing plan, a tax-exempt equipment lease instrument within 60 days to fund about $6 million worth of equipment.

The Department of Finance also plans to return to the City Council in January 2020 to recommend a contract award that would replace the radios in the Police Department’s helicopter fleet. These radios are uniquely made and designed specifically for each helicopter, requiring custom installation by specialized vendors.

Based on updated cost estimates, the cost of the helicopter radio systems could go up to approximately $800,000. The Finance Department is therefore recommending increasing the total estimated cost of the Radio Communication Equipment Upgrade and Replacement Project by an additional $800,000, and putting in place the equipment financing – the equipment lease instrument for $6,800,000 – which covers a portion of the total equipment cost, the report showed.

Aside from acting on a resolution authorizing the financing agreement with JP Morgan Chase Bank, the Finance Department also recommends that the City Council amend the fiscal year 2020 Capital Improvement Program for the radio communication upgrade project, by increasing the appropriation for equipment lease financing by $800,000 to $6,800,000, and increasing the total estimated cost of the project by a like amount.

The Department of Information Technology (DolT) is responsible for purchasing and maintaining radio equipment to support essential wireless communications on behalf of all City departments, most notably Police, Fire, Water and Power, Public Works, and Transportation.

Across the Police, Fire, Public Works and Transportation Departments, and Pasadena Water and Power, there are nearly 1 ,600 handheld, vehicle-mounted, and desktop radios along with batteries and accessories, mostly sourced from Motorola Solutions, Inc., the report said.

blog comments powered by Disqus