WAYNE, NJ – A bond ordinance was introduced at the last Town Council meeting for the township to issue $6,560,000 in bonds or notes for financing part of a total of $6,905,000 for “Next Generation 911 radio infrastructure and telephone upgrades for the Police Department, Fire Departments and the First Aid Squad.”
According to the 911.gov website, most 911 systems were built decades ago using analog technologies. As more people move away from landline telephones, and rely solely on cellular phones, the need for 911 systems to upgrade to digital or Internet Protocol (IP)-based has grown. The US Government is working to establish a nationwide, connected, digital 911 system known as Next Generation 911 (NG911).
For this to happen, all Public Safety Answering Points (PSAPs) will need to upgrade their systems. This is why Wayne Township is considering passing the $6.5 million bond ordinance and ultimately spending nearly $7 million.
From the 911.gov website: “The success and reliability of 911 will be greatly improved with the implementation of NG911, as it will enhance emergency number services to create a faster, more resilient system that allows voice, photos, videos and text messages to flow seamlessly from the public to the 911 network. NG911 will also improve PSAP ability to help manage call overload, natural disasters, and transferring of 911 calls and proper jurisdictional responses based on location tracking.”
Mayor Chris Vergano said, during the discussion of the proposed ordinance that the Township’s current 911 system is a “dinosaur.”
“We're running into a situation where our vendor can no longer support the current system that we have,” he said. “And for the safety and reliability of those dialing in on 911, and for our police, fire and first aid squad. It's time to replace the system we have now.”
Second Ward Councilman, Al Sadowski, who has served in this capacity for twelve years, said: “I don't think it was that many years ago where we had a big infrastructure project bonded to do a 911 system. Is this adding on to that or is this replacing that?”
“I think it was nine years ago, and we spent approximately $9,000,000, and we also replaced radios at the same time,” answered Vergano.
Township attorney, Matt Giacobbe added to the Mayor’s comment. “We actually upgraded repeaters, etc. and cell towers,” he said. “This is kind of a continuation; we knew this was coming. We did upgrade it but a lot of it was hardware on actual power structures.”
Vergano told the council and the public listening in on the meeting that the implementation of this new system will take about 18 months. He also addressed the high price for the upgrade. “Unfortunately, this is the cost of doing business in this world.”