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Funding tops city's agenda

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POSTED: March 8, 2007 5:11 a.m.
Thursday was productive for the Hinesville City Council as it decided to aid in funding millions of dollars to current and future city and county projects.
The first is spending roughly $3.7 million (with funding also coming from Homeland Security) between city and county agencies to improve radio communications.
Tom Wahl, 911 director, said the current radio communication system will be phased out to adhere with FCC regulations, and when the update is made there will be seamless communication among city, county and regional agencies.    
“After the 9/11 tragedy, interoperability became the new buzz word for radio communication because interoperability defines the importance of alike or differing agencies being able to speak to one another, especially in the time of an emergency,” Wahl said.
The radios the county has date back to the 1950s and in some cases there is little to no interoperability among the city’s police officers or firefighters because of how far apart they may be working or geographic obstacles such as buildings, Wahl said.
“We have until 2011 to complete this upgrade to meet with the FCC,” Hinesville Police Chief George Stagmeier said. “It’s kind of like severe weather preparedness; we don’t want to wait until the last minute to get this done because of how important it is, and the city and the county are working very hard to get this funding to make it happen as quickly as possible.”
According to the budget, the county will receive 1,070 new radios and most of them will be given to the county fire services, the sheriff’s office, Hinesville police and fire departments, and the board of education.
“Most importantly, we have the safety of the people in mind,” Stagmeier said. “This more efficient system will help save lives and we’re all eager to see it go online.”
“We asked Tom Wahl to head up this effort to get this system up to date and to convert to the new system and we are pleased with his job so far,” City Manager Billy Edwards said.
In other business:
• Consulting engineer Paul Simonton had a $2.5 million bid approved for Ruby Collins Construction Co. and about $600,000 will be awarded to BRW Construction Co. to install and extend wastewater sewer lines.  
“Construction of the wastewater treatment plant is continuing and these bids involve the second phase of construction,” said Simonton.  
According to the city agenda, the council will work with the Georgia Environmental Facility Authority to fund the project.
• The council is also in the process of approving the resolution to give Next Step Program Services more than $300,000 to help women and children who have suffered from domestic violence, dating violence, stalking and sexual assault.
Clarenda Stanley, the city’s grants writer and coordinator, said 80 percent of the homeless women in Hinesville are out on the street due to domestic violence.
She said the grant would help pay for the transitional housing of these women, and for the staff members who would counsel and aid them.  
Stanley also said the grant would be used over three years.
 

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