Transfer to complete radio program

BEACON FALLS — A transfer of contingency funds will put town departments on the same wavelength.

The transfer of $24,380 from the 2013-14 budget’s contingency fund will pay to complete a town-wide radio program.

Fire Chief Jim Trzaski said the radio program will replace radios in the vehicles of the fire department, police department, emergency medical services, and street department with new radios that will be able to communicate with one another.

“What happened was we put together a radio system where all the agencies can talk to each other on the one radio band,” Trzaski said.

The project includes a new radio tower, which has already been installed, on one of the light poles on the football field at Woodland Regional High School.

First Selectman Christopher Bielik said there were gaps in the emergency radio service in certain places around Beacon Falls and the new tower ensured that emergency personnel could be reached no matter where they are in town.

Trzaski said the new tower increased safety in the town.

“What that does is enhance safety to both the responders and the public by having better communications in that area,” Trzaski said.

After the radio tower was installed, Trzaski said, the town realized some of the vehicles had inferior radio systems, which would have to be upgraded at some point.

“So, instead of throwing good money after bad and letting it compound as it went along, they decided to fix the system as they went along so we didn’t have a superior system on Rimmon Hill and have to back track later on,” Trzaski said.

Since the transfer was for more than $20,000 it needs to be approved at a town meeting.

A town meeting was held Aug. 7 to vote on the transfer. While the transfer was approved 16-1 at the meeting, the action was deemed invalid due to a typographical error in the legal notice for the meeting.

The call of the meeting that was printed stated the transfer was coming from the 2014-15 budget rather than last year’s budget. During the meeting, a motion to correct the call was approved. The vote moved ahead to transfer the funds, with the caveat that it would count only if it was permissible under state law.

Bielik reached out the state Office of Policy and Management the following morning.

During the Board of Selectmen meeting Monday, Bielik said he was told it was not clear whether changing the call during the meeting was allowable and, to be safe, the town should hold the meeting again.

A town meeting to vote on the transfer is Thursday in Town Hall at 7 p.m.

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